When January 1st rolls around, conventional New Year celebrations may be over, but there’s still another New Year to be celebrated: Chinese New Year. This festive holiday is considered the most important holiday and festival in China. While a tradition among the Chinese people, there’s no reason anyone else can’t join in on the festivities too. Celebrating the first day of China’s lunar calendar is a great way to appreciate the rich Chinese culture, and what better way to celebrate Chinese New Year than with a party?!
What Should You Do for a Chinese New Year Party?
If you’re thinking about throwing your own Chinese New Year bash in appreciation of the Lunar New Year, it’s important to understand what these festivities are centered on. Namely, Chinese New Year celebrations revolve around four specific things, including:
- Decorations with lucky red items – Red is the main color for the Chinese New Year festival, because it is a sign of prosperity and good luck, so it should be included in Chinese New Year party decorations in as many ways as possible.
- Family time – People dedicate this time for family. In fact, the “reunion dinner” enjoyed on Chinese New Year’s Eve is considered the most important meal of the year.
- Fireworks – It’s customary for fireworks to be set off the first moment of the new year.
- New year’s gifts and red envelopes – Exchanging gifts is incredibly important on Chinese New Year, the most common of which are red envelopes filled with money.
All four of these factors should be considered when planning a Chinese New Year party, but when it comes to how to decorate for Chinese New Year, we know you might need some extra help.
9 Chinese New Year Party Supplies & Traditions You Should Know About
To make sure you’ve got all the Chinese New Year party supplies and decorations you need to throw an amazing and authentic Spring Festival shindig, we’ve compiled a handy checklist of party supplies you’ll want to add to your arsenal of goodies, as well as some tips to make your Chinese New Year party a success.
Clean to Keep Bad Luck at Bay
Before you start Chinese New year decorations in your home, your first step is to clean! Doing so symbolizes the elimination of all the bad luck from the current year to make room for better luck in the new year to come. When your guests arrive, politely instruct them to remove their shoes in order to make sure not only your home is kept clean, but that the New Year itself starts off clean and free of bad luck.
Decorate with Red
Being that red is the most important color of Chinese New Year, because of its representation of success, it only makes sense to splash the color throughout your venue by purchasing all the red Chinese New Year party decorations you can find. More specifically, red paper decorations, like paper lanterns, are customary for Chinese New Year celebrations. It’s traditional to put red decorations throughout your home, including on the windows and on your front door, even if you aren’t throwing a big party yourself. You can also include more red Chinese New Year supplies, like flowers, streamers, lights, signs, and gift wrap, on your party shopping list.
Accent with Gold Highlights
In addition to red, gold also has its place at Chinese New Year parties. Chinese tradition dictates that gold highlights are indicative of prosperity and good fortune for the new year to come. Therefore, it’s customary to include gold accents in Chinese New Year decorations as a symbol of wealth and good luck, so be sure to sprinkle in a few gold accents throughout your home!
To further solidify the message of wealth and prosperity, it’s also tradition to write people positive messages of good luck. To incorporate this tradition, you can write your own messages on red cards using a gold marker and place them in spots where guests will inadvertently stumble upon them.
Add Elements of the Chinese Zodiac
According to Chinese tradition, there are 12 Chinese zodiac animals, each of which represents years. These signs play a key role in Chinese culture and are used to determine a person’s fortune for the new year, employment opportunities, health, marriage possibilities, and more.
Since 2021 is the year of the ox, be sure to incorporate ox signs into your Chinese New Year decorations. You can display ox decorations and figurines to stay true to an authentic Chinese New Year party.
Another important symbol in Chinese culture is the dragon, which symbolizes good luck, strength, and goodness, especially when transitioning into a new year. Dragon-related Chinese New Year party supplies can be a fabulous addition to your party, considering how bold and colorful they tend to be. String dragon garlands across your venue to integrate this important Chinese symbol into your party and really make your decorations stand out.
Because exchanging gifts is a Chinese New Year tradition, make sure you’re prepared with gifts for your guests. This can be something very simple, like a small parting gift wrapped in a red gift bag, or more extravagant, depending on your budget. If you don’t want to purchase gifts for all your gifts, instead you can supply everyone with a red envelope, encourage them to put money in their gift envelopes, and then draw names out of a hat to distribute the envelopes. Of course, you’ll want to give your guests a heads up about your gift idea ahead of time, so be sure to mention the gift exchange in your invitation.
Set the Tone for the Festivities
This won’t be your average party. A Chinese New Year party needs to be true to the meaning of the holiday, and the ambiance you create should make it feel as authentic as possible. In addition to the Chinese New Year decorations you put up, you can easily set the mood by playing traditional Chinese music or serving a signature red cocktail. Ingredients like cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, and grenadine can all give whatever drink you want to make the perfect red color. Whether your signature drink is a martini, spritzer, margarita, or daiquiri, as long as it’s red, it will fit the bill!
Serve Traditional Chinese Food
No party would be complete without the food! But for a Chinese New Year party, the menu choices you make can really add to the authenticity of the celebration. Here are just a few suggestions to consider when you’re deciding what kind of food to serve:
- Stir fry noodles
- Chicken dumplings
- Lettuce wraps
- Spring rolls
- Wonton soup
You might want to consider displaying oranges or tangerines along with your dishes, as they represent wealth, good luck, and happiness.
Set Off Fireworks
To really start off the new Lunar Year with a bang (no pun intended!), consider setting off fireworks. In Chinese tradition, fireworks are meant to scare off the beast Nian, who is terrified of fireworks. If you do decide to set off fireworks, make sure to keep safety measures in check. Choose a large open space far enough away from homes and enlist the help of someone who has experience setting off fireworks.
Now You Can Throw the Best Chinese New Year Party!
There’s always something to celebrate, and right now, Chinese New Year is the perfect reason to throw another gathering with friends and family while celebrating a rich cultural holiday. Keep these Chinese New Year party supplies and decorating tips in mind when you’re creating your shopping list so you can gather up all the goods you need to host an authentic Chinese New Year party that’s true to the meaning of the holiday.