How To Celebrate Chinese New Year When You Aren’t In China

Chinese New Year is coming up quick, and if you have ever celebrated the holiday in China, you know what a big deal it is. Being in China during this time of year can be hugely exciting as there is so much going on in the ways of celebrations and decorations. If you happen to be back in your country during the holiday, you may be feeling a little sad that you can’t be there for the festivities.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Chinese New Year right from home so if you want to relive your time in China or introduce your friends and family to a little bit of culture, here are a couple of ways that you can celebrate Chinese New Year from home when you aren’t in China.

Fireworks

Photo Source: Kurb.tk

Photo Source: Kurb.tk

This is one of the main events of Chinese New Year. The Chinese invented gun powder and are super proud of it. While people tend to set off fireworks in China for all sorts of reasons, this holiday is one of the biggest.

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According to Chinese tradition, lighting fireworks helps to ward off evil and the first person to light one after midnight will have good luck in the new year. Find a place that sells fireworks close to your home and stock up. Your neighbors may think you are a little crazy, but put it out of your mind and have a great time lighting up the sky.

Serve a New Year’s Eve Dinner

The dinner that occurs on New Year’s Eve is the most important meal of the year to Chinese people. Instead of heading out to a restaurant, the meal is typically served at home with family members who travel back home from wherever they happen to reside for the rest of the year. Serving fish and dumplings together is extremely common because it signifies prosperity. If you can manage to learn a couple of authentic, Chinese recipes, it will not only be impressive to your friends and family but will also help you celebrate just as if you were really in China.

Stay up ALL Night

Photo Source: Thesourcingblog.com

Photo Source: Thesourcingblog.com

According to yet another legend, a mythical monster called, “Year,” comes out after midnight and tries to destroy property, harm animals, and people. To fend off the monster, many Chinese people try to stay up the entire night to light fires, fireworks and celebrate until the morning comes.

Give Red Packets of Money to Friends

Photo Source: PRI.org

Photo Source: PRI.org

It’s a huge tradition in China to give money to family and friends as gifts. Giving the money isn’t enough though as it must come enclosed in a traditional red envelope. Traditionally, these red envelopes of money are given to the children by their elders. The tradition is meant to ensure that the kids stay away from evil, stay healthy and can look forward to a long life.

Completely Clean Out Your Home

Photo Source: En.chinaculture.org

Photo Source: En.chinaculture.org

If you want to truly celebrate the holiday like the Chinese do, it’s imperative to give your home a deep clean. By cleaning the house and everything inside from top to bottom, one can be ensured that they are removing the old and welcoming in the new.

Decorate

Photo Source: Mariespastiche.com

Photo Source: Mariespastiche.com

Decorating is a massive part of the holiday and likely one of the most fun. Red is the traditional color to use for all decorations and gold mixed with red is frequently seen as well. Chinese lanterns and red paper cutouts are the most popular of decorations and can be seen all over. You can look up tutorials online to make your own decorations or browse the internet to order some in the mail.

Visit China Town

Photo Source: Discoverhongkong.com

Photo Source: Discoverhongkong.com

If you want the most authentic Chinese New Year you can get outside of China, visit your nearest China Town. Most cities have some sort of China town, and there is sure to be some elaborate celebration there. You may be able to witness some dragon dances, parades, and firework shows, as well as eat authentic Chinese food. Another reason to visit is just to be part of the excitement that is shared amongst the Chinese people who are living there and celebrating together.

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Shannon Ullman

Hey! I'm a published American travel blogger and teacher. My travel writing has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Matador Network and Thought Catalog. I spent over a year living and traveling around China while I taught English there. I have also visited dozens of other countries around the world.