How You Can Celebrate Chinese New Year at Home
Celebrating Chinese New Year is one of the most exciting holidays one can experience. Chinese people celebrate the Spring Festival no matter where they are. It doesn’t always have to be grand because this is all about reuniting with your families and celebrating a new year.
My family would always celebrate Chinese New Year with my relatives. Some of my relatives would fly to Manila just to celebrate with us. Sometimes it would even take us several days and even weeks of endless dinner parties with friends and families. However, during this global health crisis, it may be difficult for us to travel and get together for a reunion, and even if we can, the danger and uncertainty of it can scare us. Just like how we’ve been celebrating the past holidays since the pandemic, we have to do the next best thing. If we can’t reunite with our friends and family, we can opt for a virtual reunion instead.
To help you think of ways to celebrate Chinese New Year at home, you can refer to this list sharing some Chinese New Year traditions that are religiously followed by Chinese people all over the world.
Wearing Red Clothes
Chinese people love the color red because it symbolizes good luck, life, and happiness. They show this by wearing red clothes during special occasions. To celebrate Chinese New Year, Chinese people would ideally wear new red clothes. But, not everyone can do so and so, wearing clean and presentable red clothes is equally good.
Preparing New Year’s Eve Dinner
Having a New Year Eve feast is always a must. Families would prepare different kinds of meat, vegetables, and desserts. The most common dishes present are noodles, steamed fish, hotpot, glutinous rice cake, and dumplings. Preparing for a big family would usually take the whole day. In our case, when we celebrate at our grandparents’ house, every family would bring their dish to make everyone feel involved.
Giving of “Ang Paos” or red envelopes
The giving of “Ang Pao” or, in Mandarin, “Hong Bao” (紅包) is the practice of giving money inside red envelopes. This tradition goes way back. “Ang Paos” are given as tokens of good wishes during this special occasion. When you’re young, this is probably the most exciting thing about Chinese New Year.
Create loud noises
Lighting fireworks during New Year’s Eve is a tradition; however, if it is restricted in your area, creating loud noises through the blowing of horns is an alternative. The tradition of lighting up fireworks came from the Nian (年) monster’s legend. It is believed that the Nian monster is afraid of fireworks, and so people put out fireworks and create loud noises to ward off the monster on New Year’s Eve and the day after. Personally, reuniting with your huge family (whom you see once a year) is loud enough to ward any monsters.
Celebrate with a traditional Chinese game
Before the pandemic, people would go to temples to pray and watch different lion dances and celebrate the new year with the community. But this year, it will be different. Instead of going out, we can celebrate with the people we live with, stay at home, play mahjong (a traditional tile-based game), and appreciate what we have. Mahjong is played with exactly 4 players and can usually get heated. I love playing mahjong with my siblings and our grandmother. It is a memory that I will always cherish.
Chinese New Year is about togetherness and celebrating a new chapter in our lives. It is the time to look back at all the challenges that we have accomplished in the past year and have the courage to face another year. Let’s not get overwhelmed with strictly following traditions amidst a pandemic, but remember what everything is for: our family. Safety comes first.