Everyone loves a good party and just as we're recovering from New Years and Australia Day, Chinese New Year is now upon us! Celebrate the Year of the Pig with your friends and family with a lovely dinner party, to let go of 2018 and prepare to make 2019 as successful as possible. But what are some of the traditions surrounding Chinese New Year? How do you host a Chinese New Year party that is fun and memorable? Party Savers has got you covered with fun Chinese New Year facts and party-planning tips!
The Chinese Calendar
This year, Chinese New Year will be celebrated from the 5th to the 19th of February. There are many traditions associated with Chinese New Year. Homes are cleaned from top to bottom to banish any bad luck lingering from the previous year and all debts are paid. At midnight on New Year households open up their windows and doors to let go of the old year and end the night with firecrackers. The following day, red envelopes are exchanged between family and friends for good luck, often containing small amounts of money.
If you're feeling inspired to host a Chinese New Year party, Party Savers has some wonderful decorating ideas for you! Decorations for Chinese New Year often come in the form of apricot, plum and peach blossoms, red paper cutouts hung from windows and door frames, bamboo, paper lanterns and pictures of the year's chosen animal displayed around the house.
When decorating your home, the simplest (and most versatile!) colour theme to go with is red and gold. Red traditionally symbolises luck, so you'll find most Chinese New Year decorations in varying shades of red. Browse Party Savers' full range of Chinese New Year decorations here.
Lay each table in your home with a red tablecloth and set out paper plates, napkins and cups that are easy to tidy and fit with the red and gold gold of Chinese New Year. You can keep your cutlery on theme too, with red plastic knives and forks, or if you're striving for authenticity, chopsticks!
Lanterns are another decorative must for your party; Party Savers has a wide range of paper and felt lanterns - browse our range here! Dragons are another decorative must-have for your Chinese New Year party - check out Party Savers' dragon piñata and jointed dragon to get some inspiration for your party.
Convey Your Hopes for the New Year Through Food
Food plays an important role in Chinese New Year. Chinese tradition tells the story of the Kitchen God Zao Jun, who visits the kitchens of every home one week before Chinese New Year, then travels back to heaven to report on the going son of the past year for each household. A good report can herald prosperity for the coming year. Traditionally, Chinese families offer nian gao (translated to a 'year cake', made from rice flour, brown sugar, dates, milk, water and white sesame seeds) to the Kitchen God, to ensure a favourable report and a prosperous new year.
Nian Gao is not the only traditional food item served on Chinese New Year. A dinner occurs on New Years Eve and it is the most important meal of the year. If your party is scheduled for New Years Eve, be sure to serve whole fish (with the head and tail intact) to ensure a good start (head) and finish (tail) to the new year.
Citrus fruits (such as oranges and Chinese grapefruit) are displayed and eaten to bring wealth, luck and prosperity. If you intend to serve noodles with your meal, ensure that they are as long as possible, as the length of the noodle symbolises a long life. Leafy greens and long beans should also be served in a similar fashion, for the same reason.
Tradition also dictates that vegetarian food should be consumed for one day while celebrating Chinese New Year, to foster good karma for the coming year. So why not set aside some vegetarian dishes for your party?
Finally, round the evening out with some traditional Chinese sweets and fortune cookies for dessert!
Wear Something Red
Wearing red on Chinese New Year will bring you good luck for the rest of the year; why not ask your guests to come dressed in red, too? It's not necessary to be decked out head-to-toe in red, but a red scarf, jewellery or t-shirt would suffice!
Head over to Party Savers to pick up all you need for your Chinese New Year party - check out our range online or in store, in Chatswood!