With Christmas and New Year’s Eve being over, that could only mean that Chinese New Year is right around the corner; 25th January to be exact.
Nearly everyone has heard of Chinese New Year, more correctly termed as the Lunar New Year. This holiday is widely celebrated in Singapore, but not many are sure of how to go about planning a Chinese New Year party due to the next generation being more westernized.
Putting together a Chinese New Year party is fun, cultural, and unique; consider it an excellent excuse to get your family and friends together in January for something educational and enjoyable!
If you don’t feel like going from door-to-door to visit relatives this year, consider organizing your own little gathering to usher in some good fortune and to avoid being alone on such an auspicious period! Your friends and family will appreciate the opportunity to get together and bond over good food, drinks, and games!
1) Sending Invitations
Mailing out invitations may feel slightly formal, but we guarantee that it builds excitement and authenticity.
Whether you invite guests via the old-fashioned snail mail or social media, you should always include some basic suggestions and instructions in the invitation. Some attendees who are not Chinese, may not know what a Chinese New Year party entails; so help them out a bit by stating what is to be expected such as not turning up in a black colored outfit.
You can suggest that guests bring small gifts in red envelopes; also known as hong bao, that contain cash in them. These are especially important if there are children attending the party.
However, do keep your instructions in the invitation simple, or people may begin to think that your party requires way too much effort and thus not show up.
Buying a new outfit or wearing one that has not been previously worn, is the standard custom for Chinese New Year.
Avoid showing up in black or white clothing on Chinese New Year; both are colors traditionally worn for mourning in Chinese culture. Gray, charcoal, and ashen colors fall into this category too.
Opt for vibrant colors such as red and gold whenever possible; after all, Chinese New Year is probably the only occasion that gives you an excuse to go all out when choosing an outfit color!
If you still can’t find a suitable outfit, then you can give a nod to tradition by wearing a red accessory! Think red scarves, red bottoms, or a ruby ring!
Any cutting done during Chinese New Year is deemed as unlucky. That is why you should trim your nails, shave, and get a haircut before the holiday if necessary.
If you really want to follow superstition, then avoid washing your hair on the Lunar New Year as it is considered risky since that act symbolizes washing away new good luck accumulated.
4) Food For The Party
Luckily for you, there are three options for organizing your Chinese New Year food; prepare everything yourself, purchase what you can from the supermarket, or let a Chinese restaurant prepare everything for you.
If you decide to let a restaurant take care of the food, then you should place your order days in advance because Chinese restaurants will be inundated with orders during Chinese New Year.
However, it is important that you take special consideration when choosing the food; don’t just randomly select them just because they are from a Chinese caterer. Even down to the smallest snacks, most of the food served on Chinese New Year is symbolic and has centuries of tradition behind it.
5) Sweep Away The Bad Luck
If you already have a party space in mind to host your party, clean it before the start of the Chinese New Year. This is because it is traditionally done to sweep away bad luck from the current year.
After guests arrive, have them remove their shoes and place them near the door to encourage a clean and smooth transition into the new year.
Not a bad way to get started on your spring cleaning checklist, eh?
6) Decorate With The Color Red
One Chinese New Year custom is to hang red paper decorations in windows and almost everywhere else.
This is because it is believed that this tradition derived from an ancient legend involving a beast called Nian, who was known to be terrified of the color red.
Red also symbolizes power, happiness, and vitality, so you’ll want to use red wherever you can in your decor.
Red velvet cake, anyone?
7) Add Gold Highlights
Although traditional Chinese New Year decor is red, it is accented with gold. This is because gold represents wealth, good fortune and prosperity.
It is also a new year tradition to write messages wishing good luck, good fortune, wealth, prosperity and longevity and to place those messages where people will find them.
For an added touch, write the messages in gold ink on red paper. You can even make the invitations red with gold writing.
8) Go In Accordance To The Zodiac Animals
Chinese tradition holds that every new year is imbued with the characteristics of one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
It’s also a tradition to decorate the party space with images of the incoming zodiac animal.
For 2020, it is the year of the rat, so your party decor should include at least a few rat figurines and photos.
9) Include Dragons
Dragons are another popular symbol for Chinese New Year as they symbolize strength, goodness and good luck as well as supernatural forces.
Hence, you would want to include dragons in the party decorations too. For example, you can consider stretching a long red or gold dragon garland along the ceiling or wall.
10) Chinese New Year Gift Exchange
Guests may not be in too big of a hurry to buy and exchange gifts again in the wake of Christmas, although etiquette dictates that they bring something small to the party.
You can reciprocate with witty door gifts or personalized items for each friend. Gifts can be in the form of small trinkets, red envelopes with small amounts of money or gift cards inside; hong baos, or even candy.
Although more effort is required, each gift should be catered to a specific guest and represent some wish you have for their prosperity or health in the new lunar year. For this reason, thoughtfulness is more important than the monetary value of the gift. A quick, inexpensive way to customize gifts is to print favorite photos of the two of you.
Chinese gift-giving dictates that handkerchiefs, watches, white flowers, or anything sharp, should not be given to another person. Watches indicate that time is running out for them and that they are going to pass away soon, and sharp objects represent the cutting of ties.
On the other hand, gifts that relate to the number "4" should not be given. This is because the Chinese word for “four” sounds close to the word for death. Gifts that come in pairs or related to the number "2" are ideal.
11) Chinese New Year Games and Entertainment
Games involving skills with chopsticks are a popular tradition and are also easy to set up.
With some uncooked rice, beans, other hard-to-pick-up items and a timer, you can come up with all kinds of simple, creative games that are good for laughs.
However, do note that the games shouldn’t involve guests passing items to each other using the chopsticks; passing bones with chopsticks is a funeral rite in Asia.
Calligraphy contests are also an easy way to have some cultural fun. Have supplies on hand for each guest to try then judge the results and offer small prizes.
Origami, although usually associated with Japanese culture, is another cultural way to keep everyone occupied. Besides, the Chinese do have a legacy of paper-folding art known as zhe zhi.
With that being said, if you still have no party venue in mind to host your Chinese New Year party, then consider hosting it at Hyperspace! This is because Hyperspace is a new events space; thus, it would be very fitting for the Chinese New Year party!
Visit https://www.hyperspace.sg/ for more information.
Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!