Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Never one to miss an opportunity to find a reason to celebrate in my home, Chinese New Year just invites fun!

One way to bring in the Chinese New Year is to clean house. While this would seem to be a good habit to have anyway, it is important for the holiday, because in doing so, you are also sweeping away any bad luck.

Decorate! Especially using red. Red candles, red paper lanterns, red tablecloths. Red symbolizes good fortune and joy.

Buy red envelopes and fill with homemade coupons. Homemade coupons ideas might include anything you know the receiver will love: maybe an extra hour before bedtime for the kids, a neck rub for a needy spouse.

Food is always an important aspect for any celebration. One idea is Asian Barbecued Tofu, but any family favorite Chinese dish will work. One staple is dumplings. While it is common to hide a coin in one of the dumplings because whoever gets the dumpling with the coin will supposedly have good luck in the coming year, I tend toward not putting inedible items in foods. Choking hazards and all that.

Have a bowl of oranges and tangerines (or any of the many varieties of oranges out there, now available) sitting on the table to be enjoyed by family and guests. They symbolize wealth and good luck.

Offer guests foods from the Tray of Togetherness - a circular or octagonal shaped tray filled with an assortment of symbolic foods to provide a sweet beginning to the New Year. I use a standard relish tray that is round and fill it with eight different finger foods.

By all means, have fun with it. Just remember - don't clean for the first few days of the New Year - if you do any sweeping during this time, you risk sweeping away your good luck.

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