Chinese New Year – how you can take part in the celebrations. 2012.01.16.

Hi all,

Chinese New Year is approaching and this year is going to be celebrated on the 23rd of January. The coming year is the year of the dragon, which is exciting as Chinese mythology associates dragons with luck, power and strength.

This is a fantastic time to send your loved ones greetings (don’t forget to take a look at our collection of Chinese new year e cards) as well as to get involved with the celebrations, either by visiting a local parade (many cities will have street events planned for this occasion click here for some information on what is happening across the globe here) or by getting into the spirit with their own loved ones.

Ancient Chinese legends suggest that the first New Year began with a fight against ‘Nian’ – a mythical creature who would terrorise villagers, visiting on the first day of the new year and eating crops, livestock and villagers. People began to leave food outside of their door for this creature, and soon realised that it did not hunt for anything else if it had food. They also realised that the creature was scared of the colour red and from then on, people have left red lanterns and spring rolls outside of their doors to warn Nian away.

This fantastic event is celebrated for a number of days but many famillies will get together for a dinner on new years eve. This dinner will include many traditional fish and chicken dishes, as well as dumplings, mandarin oranges, melon, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, noodles and many other dishes. There are also an exchange of gifts of sweets and foods between friends and neighbours as well as the giving of red envelopes containing money from elders to the young.

This is a magical celebration full of tradition and myth and great fun to get involved with. If you want to hold your own celebration, here are my tips:

  • Visit your local Chinese supermarket to buy some red lanterns to hang outside of your home, or if you do not have somewhere you can go locally – there are some beautiful ones available to buy online here at Asianideas.com
  • Make some interesting and pretty cards that you can put on the table which contain some facts about the origins, myths and traditions of the Chinese New Year. A great way to get kids involved, you can ask them to make or just decorate the cards by researching the myths and traditions themselves.
  • Make some of your own fresh and crispy spring rolls. You can hang some outside (kids will love doing that) or just have them with your wonderful dinner. Here is a great recipe I found by Ching-He Huang
  • Make a selection of other traditional dishes to celebrate with your loved ones. Click here forĀ a fantastic list of recipes that you might like, alternatively you could try finding somewhere to buy pre-made food or order in (if you can find anywhere that is open!)
  • An alternative to gift-giving for your guests is to buy red envelopes for each of your dinner guests (you will find them in your local stationary store or if not you can get a great selection here on Amazon) and fill them with some chocolate coins. This is a cheap yet fun way to honor the tradition.
  • Ask your dinner guests to dress in red
  • Add more excitement to your celebration by setting off fireworks (safely) in your garden

I hope you have a fantastic time celebrating!

Please do share any tips of advice by commenting, I love to have your feedback.

Katie x

P.s. Beautiful, animated and musical e cards for all occasions. Send unlimited e cards within your membership for a small subscription fee. Click here to join now.

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