How to Celebrate Chinese New Year

There will be revelry, gaiety, and celebrations to herald the Chinese New Year held on February 5, 2019 with a bang. Let's see ideas to make this memorable.
Cheryl Mascarenhas Feb 9, 2019
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Did you know?

As everything is energy―including color, of course―what you wear when the clock strikes midnight is believed to bring you all manner of luck and success.
It's time to herald spring, which is also a time to start afresh with new beginnings and renewals. So to say, it is time for a fresh start in the Lunar calendar, and also a time to bring about new changes to adjust the 'qi' through feng shui cures.
The celebration of the Spring Festival as it is known in China, begins on the eve of the new year― February 5, 2019, and culminates on the fifteenth day―February 19, 2019, with the Lantern Festival.
It is a time when families reunite for their annual family dinner, as well as a time to thoroughly clean and decorate the house. Simply put, it is a time to get rid of anything that brings ill-fortune, and make way for good tidings. Enough said and done, here's what you should be doing to herald this year's Lunar New Year.

Start by Cleaning Your Home

An important part of the festival is cleaning the house before the gaiety actually begins. It will also ensure you sweep away any kind of ill-fortune, and negativity out the door.
This ritual, in turn, will mean you are making way for good luck to enter your home and lives. Take it up as a family duty, thus making it less of a task and more of a way to spend quality family time together.

Use Traditional Decoration

Once the cleaning is done and the broom is stacked away out of sight, start decorating the house. The rule is to keep it minimalist and elegant, and not go overboard with the decorations. Placing a pair of mandarins (oranges) with their stalks intact is known to bring happiness.
You can also place flowers like the lotus―symbol of rebirth and new growth―around the house to herald new beginnings. While decorating, remember to incorporate the color red to bring in luck.

Host a Family Dinner on New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is a dedicated family reunion day. It is imperative that one gets together with his/her entire family for a traditional dinner. Dinner is most often followed by visiting the temple to pray for a prosperous new year.

Light Fireworks

The main motto is to create a din and scare away the evil spirits with firecrackers and burnt bamboo sticks. You can use plastic firecrackers to adorn the front door to ward off evil.

Visit Friends

Visiting family and friends on the first five days of the New Year is encouraged. However, one is discouraged from venturing out of one's home on the third day of the celebrations as it is considered to be an unlucky day.

Give Out Ang Pows

It is a custom to give out cash in red envelopes as a form of blessing to younger family members. Employees too, are given bonuses in red envelopes to symbolize good health, good luck, and wealth.

Dress in Lucky Colors

The Chinese believe, the colors red and gold are auspicious and bring good fortune. Which is why wearing these colors to usher in the New Year is highly recommended.

Enjoy Festive Foods

You can gorge on delicious food that is on offering. Serve festive foods to those who visit you, and give out tangerines and oranges to kids and guests as a token of good luck and wealth.

Participate in the Parade

The best way to enjoy the festivities of the New Year is to participate in the parades held in and around the city. Witness the dragon and lion dances as they are an integral part of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Distribute cash in red envelopes

Follow the custom of blessing kids, teenagers, and unmarried friends and relatives with an envelope filled with cash. 

Light Candles

Join in the procession to commemorate the Lantern Festival with a lit candle or lantern.

Light up Paths

Lighting candles to guide wayward spirits home is a customary practice held on the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year.

Watch the Lion Dance

Allow the lion dance troupe to perform the custom of cai qing or plucking the greens in your homes.

Put up Paper Decorations

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with paper-cut artwork adorning the front yard of the house.

Decorate the traditional way

Use traditional elements to decorate the house for the Spring Festival.

Best Places to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

San Francisco

The Lunar New Year Parade held at San Francisco is the largest of its kind outside Asia. With elaborate floats, gorgeous costumes, ferocious lions, and marching bands, it is one of the must-see parades of the world. 

New York

One of the largest and longest running Lunar New Year celebrations is held in New York. Festivities include signature performances like the red ribbon dance, the flash and elegance of the traditional sword dance, the playful and graceful double fan dance, and a traditional lion dance with a hip-hop twist.

Chicago

With concerts at the Chinatown Museum and Lunar New Year dinners taking place, the popular and colorful Lunar New Year Parade at Chicago is definitely a vibrant place to enjoy and experience the festivities.
You can also visit the parades held at Washington D.C., Boston, and Vancouver. May the gaiety and cheer bring about an amazing start to your year. Here's wishing all of you a prosperous Lunar New Year.