It’s one month to Chinese New Year and time to prepare yourself, your home, and family for the most important Chinese celebration of the year. The preparation takes effort and time but remember, the goal is to bring as much good luck as possible into the coming year.
4 Weeks Before Chinese New Year
Order red envelopes. Giving and receiving red envelopes is one of the most fun things to do during Chinese New Year. Married couples give money in red envelopes to unwed family and close friends as a way to share their good fortune in the new year. Envelopes are red because the color symbolizes prosperity, good luck, and thought to keep away evil spirits.
Plan Reunion Dinner. The most important meal of the year is Reunion Dinner because it closes out the year and celebrates all of your good fortune and accomplishments. Generations within a family get together for this celebration. Traditionally, this dinner is celebrated on Chinese New Year’s eve but since it is such an important celebration, choose a date that works for everyone. Try to get together before Chinese New Year Day but don’t fret if the dinner happens afterwards, the important part is the family coming together. Doesn’t matter if you go to a restaurant or cook dinner at home, the food should be abundant with leftovers to eat on Chinese New Year’s day. This represents the excess of good fortune in the current year overflowing into the coming year. Dinner should include food to symbolize fortune, happiness, longevity such as a whole chicken and fish, long life noodles, long leafy green vegetables, sweets for a sweeter life. Red envelopes are given after dinner.
3 Weeks Before Chinese New Year
Decorate your home to bring good luck, health, and money in the new year. Decorations should be red, gold, and bright colors. Put up signs like door couplets on the front door and decorations in the entryway so everyone coming in will be in a festive mood, and showered with prosperity for the new year. Put up garland and lanterns especially around the dining room table because this will be the place for many happy celebrations. If you are crafty or have children, try making some of your own decorations. I love these glass lanterns my daughters made.
Get Chinese New Year books for children. The biggest learning from my mom blogger friend, PragmaticMom, is to teach children through books. I read books about Chinese New Year to my children (4 and 7 years old), they ask questions, and we have really good talks about all the different things that go into this big celebration. Reading books has explained Chinese New Year to my children better then I could ever have. One of our favorites is Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin.
2 Weeks Before Chinese New Year
Clean your home for new beginnings. This is a thorough cleaning of your home so it’s best to start as soon as possible. You do this because you want to “sweep out” any lingering misfortune from the current year. The cleaning should include sweeping corners, cleaning out the food pantry and refrigerator, washing sheets and towels. Do a little each day so that your home is most clean on New Year’s eve, sweeping the first few days of the new year could sweep away good luck.
Setup a centerpiece of oranges and buy more for gifting. Oranges, tangerines, and pomelos represent luck, wealth, and abundance. Create a centerpiece of these fruits and display it prominently in your home or on the dinner table. Buy 2 tangerines with stems and leaves to represent longevity and display them on top of your stove or television. Have a stock of oranges and tangerines at home to give to friends when visiting. Do not give 4 fruits because the number sounds like the word for death in Chinese. Give fruits in a red bag for extra luck.
Pick out your celebration outfits. To bring luck for the new year, wear red to every Chinese New Year celebration, Chinese New Year’s Eve, and Chinese New Year’s Day. Head-to-toe in red is not necessary, well put together outfits with red tops, bottoms, accessories, or shoes is the look you are going for. Red is preferred, but pink is also ok. I wear a lot of black and neutral colors so I have red and pink scarves to get me celebration ready.
Week of Chinese New Year
Be in good spirits. This is one of the happiest times of year celebrating all of your accomplishments from the current year and anticipating good fortune for the coming year. Of course we all have things that bother us, but for these couple of weeks, celebrate in the moment and enjoy the time with family and friends. We don’t want bad feelings to be carried into the new year. Party like a rock star!
Did I miss anything?
Busy getting ready for Chinese New Year,
The Dumping Mama xo