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How to Prepare a Chinese New Year Dinner

The Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is all about getting together with families, bringing good luck and prosperity to each other, and in China the rituals associated with this time of the year last for 15 days.

The celebrations start with the traditional Chinese New Year’s Eve family dinner and end with the Lantern festival. Lion dances, scrumptious food and fireworks enliven the festivities throughout the two weeks.

The Invitations

Handwrite your invitations with gold or black ink on red rice paper. Tie the invite with a gold ribbon or a bead cord with a Chinese Zodiac charm attached to commemorate 2011, the year of the Rabbit.

The Decoration

Red is one of the important colours during the Chinese New Year as it symbolizes luck and happiness, as well as scares away evil spirits and bad fortune. Decorate your home with lights and red lanterns. Display items in even numbers like 8 since it sounds like the word for “fortune” in the Chinese language. Decorate your home with flowers such as plum blossoms, water narcissus, peonies and chrysanthemums and write out and hang spring couplets to cover both sides and across the lintel of your front door. Spring couplets that you can often find in Chinatown or on the internet are poetic good wishes of prosperity and longevity.

The Menu

A typical Chinese New Year meal is served with pork, chicken, fish and stir-fried dishes. Certain foods are picked because they sound like a word referring to good luck, prosperity or longevity.

Dumplings are made with a coin hidden inside each dumpling. Whoever eats the dumpling that there is a coin inside means the person will have a very lucky year!

Spring rolls look like gold bars; so people believe serving them can bring wealth. A whole fish is often served with the head and tail symbolizing the year’s beginning and end.

The Traditional Red Pockets

Prepare small red packets filled with pocket money (Hong Bao) for the kids and young adults who are still at school. Present friends and loved ones with tangerines, oranges and flowering teas, which represent wealth and happiness. When preparing the candy tray, serve eight kinds of treats in a round or octagonal tray.

Gong Xi Fa Cai - Happy New Year and be wealthy!


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