You look at the calendar and realize there are only 2 weeks until Chinese New Year! Don’t fret. Follow this list and you will be ready to celebrate.
Order red envelopes. Giving and receiving red envelopes is one of the happiest traditions 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, find a date that works for everyone. Try to get together before Chinese New Year Day but don’t worry 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.
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 (5 and 8 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. Here is a great list of Chinese New Year Books from PragmaticMom, one of our favorites is Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin.
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 the moment and enjoy the time with family and friends. But we don’t want bad feelings to be carried into the new year. In other words, party like a rock star!
Did I miss anything?
Busy Getting Ready,
The Dumpling Mama xo