Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Chinese New Year always falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice and, according to Kavey Eats is the most intensely celebrated festival in the lunar calendar. With everything from fireworks to family feasts, beautiful customs and delicious culinary traditions mark this important holiday—as do greetings of “Kung Hei Fat Choy”, or “Wishing you to make a fortune.”
Chinese families probably already have their own traditions that they warmly embrace at this time of year, but even if you’re not Chinese, you can still appreciate and partake in some of the celebratory customs with your family and friends—particularly since this holiday is very focused on family bonds.
It’s worth checking your city or town’s event calendar to see if there are any public Chinese New Year celebrations being held. Parades, fireworks, lantern festivals and dragon dances are often planned during the 15-day celebration of the New Year, and are spectacular to witness—particularly for children who may have never seen anything like them before.
If you want to celebrate the lunar New Year in your own home, have a look at these suggestions for ways to have a very happy Chinese New Year:
- Clean up! It may not be the most fun the kids have ever had, but Chinese tradition dictates that you “sweep away the bad luck” that may have accumulated in your house by giving it a thorough once-over on New Year’s Eve (February 18). For some tips on getting your house clean and guest-ready as quickly as possible, visit Good Housekeeping .
- Decorate with red. Red is the color of good luck in Chinese culture and is often used in decorating for the New Year. Bring out red table cloths, make red paper lanterns, or try your hand at making traditional chunlian , which are red banners or diamond shaped papers with happy, hopeful messages about a better New Year to come written using Chinese characters.
- Display Chinese paintings and artwork. If you don’t have any, check out All Free Download for beautiful Chinese art you can download and print yourself.
- Honor your ancestors. According to China.org , making offerings to your ancestors is one of the most important New Year’s customs. Traditionally, people brought their family’s genealogical records, ancestral portraits and other memorial items to an ancestral hall where offerings were prepared on an altar. Chinese families now often visit the graves of their loved ones on New Year’s Eve, and remember them at special family dinners. You could simply ask everyone at your own special dinner to tell a fond remembrance of a loved one who has passed to honor their memory at your family feast.
- Be happy. Chinese New Year is a time of happiness and good fortune, and it’s important to spread that goodwill by visiting family and friends, greeting people warmly and avoiding fights and quarrels during the New Year celebrations.
- Whenever possible, stay away from people that treat you badly or make you feel bad about yourself. For those times when you have no choice but to spend time with negative people, detox by reading your list of personal strengths and achievements when you get back home. Remember, the unkind things people say about you is actually more a reflection of how they may feel about themselves.
Of course, Chinese New Year is also about delicious traditional food. You could certainly simply order Chinese takeout from your favorite restaurant, but why not try your hand at some homemade dishes? Allrecipes has 440 fantastic ideas such as Pork Dumplings , Grilled Asian Chicken , and Chicken Lo Mein. Or check out BBC Good Food for 37 delectable dishes including Chinese Roast Duck , Peking Style Noodles, and Hot and Sour Broth with Prawns .