6 Steps to a Lucky Chinese New Year

January 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

Chinese New Year brings forth celebrations throughout the world. Chinatowns from London to New York to Singapore will be filled with parade attendees enjoying dancing dragons, flexible acrobats, and dynamic fireworks displays.

Chinese New Year also brings about a fresh start for those wishing for a better upcoming twelve months. There are lots of traditions that help to bring about a fortunate year. Here are six of the most popular steps to a lucky Chinese New Year:

1. Using Citrus Fruit
Eating or displaying citrus fruits represents good health and a long life. It’s common to see Chinese families with oranges and tangerines throughout their residence. They are also given as gifts. Pomelo, produced mostly in the United States and China, is said to bring luck and status. Pomelo is the biggest of the citrus fruits and has a sweeter taste than its ancestor the grapefruit. Try pomelo in a fruit salad or a variety of Asian dishes.
pomelo-salad-recipe.jpg Pomelo Salad © SheriW

2. Cleaning and Decorating Your Home
Cleaning your dwelling before the New Year is a must for any Chinese family. It’s believed that this ritual sweeps away the bad luck of the past year. All cleaning items are to be put away after the cleaning, as it’s bad luck to use them on New Year’s Day.

It’s also important to decorate your residence to welcome in the New Year. It’s especially lucky to use red décor. Placing flowers throughout the home is customary. Peach blossoms represent good luck and narcissus help to bring prosperity. The decorating isn’t limited to the interior of the residence. It’s equally important to place banners around the doorway. The most common symbols on the banners are a “door god” or the Chinese character fu for blessing.

3. Eating For Luck
There are plenty of options for dining on Chinese New Year. Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) are eaten right after midnight to give family members good luck for the upcoming year. The dumplings are filled with ground meat and vegetables.

Jai or “Buddhist delight” is a vegetarian dish. Many Buddhists use it for purification during the first few days of the New Year. The ingredients range from lotus seeds and bamboo shoots to cabbage and fried tofu.

Common on every plate will be long noodles (uncut), which are said to bring a long life to the person who consumes it.
red-lantern-chinese.jpg Red Lanterns, Singapore © Ryan Meuth

4. Red Money Envelopes
Red is the color of luck for the Chinese New Year. It is also the color of money or treat envelopes that are given to children. It’s also common for red envelopes to be given to the unmarried by the married. The amount given has an important significance too. For luck, an even number is most common.

5. Fireworks Celebrations
Wearing Chinese traditional clothing, often newly purchased, is customary with lots of red and tints of gold for luck and prosperity for the New Year. Parades in Chinatowns, across the globe, will be filled with a sea of red clothing from attendees. It’s believed that costumed dragons, dancing lions, and exploding fireworks scare off evil spirits. While fireworks have been banned for personal use by many governments, there continue to be professional displays in cities with significant Chinese populations.
martial-arts-new-york.jpg New Year’s Martial Arts Demo © Julialat34

6. Greeting With “Gung Hey Fat Choy”
Be sure to wish everyone a “gung hey fat choy,” which wishes others prosperity and wealth.

Want to learn more about Chinese New Year? Setting goals for the New Year? Feeling spiritual?

Read about the three perfect places to befriend a Buddhist monk, lifestyle design for the New Year, the world’s most colorful Chinatowns, and celebrating Chinese New Year in Shanghai.
___________________________________________________________________________________
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.

 

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Comments

42 Responses to “6 Steps to a Lucky Chinese New Year”
  1. Nisha says:

    I’m going to the parade in San Fran this year. Can’t wait to munch on some Chinese dishes :)

  2. Tim says:

    @Nisha

    You took the words out of my mouth. Looking forward to some dumplings. We celebrate it a week later though in terms of the festivities in the city.

  3. Ashley says:

    Pomelo looks good.

  4. Gennaro says:

    @Nisha & Tim

    Love any reason to chow down :)

    @Ashley

    Definately. Looks like a grapefruit, but it doesn’t have the bitter taste.

  5. Lisa says:

    Do I get a red money envelope for attending the parade? :)

    I’m going to have some dumpling and “Buddhist Delight.” Pomelo? Learn something everyday.

  6. Brian T says:

    London does a solid job of celebrating the Chinese New Year. Lots of fireworks, parades, and all those dancing dragons and acrobats. I’m going this year. Skipped last year.

  7. Very interesting. 2008 was a difficult year for me so I should try some of these tips to help me have a lucky 2009 ;-)

    There is a parade in Chinatown tomorrow but is supposed to be really cold so I don’t think we are going to go. My kid didn’t seem very interested either, which is odd because she usually loves stuff like that.

  8. Bryan Karl says:

    That’s what my mom’s been stressing to us yesterday and today — oranges and a clean house. Phew I’ve been cleaning some parts of the house since yesterday. And we’re not even Chinese! Haha.

  9. macapagal says:

    oh i love chinese new year ive been following said tradition for the past 5 years now, and like bryan karl am not a chinese too. anyways im preparing something for tonight at the strike of 12am ill cooked noodles and the “tikoy”, rice cake i mean said to strengthen family ties. oh i will start cleaning the house na hahaha

  10. I have to confess that I know nothing about the Chinese New Year so this article was very interesting. Great photos too!

  11. Gennaro says:

    @Kim Woodbridge

    I hope 2009 is a great one for you.

    @Bryan Karl

    Can’t hurt to try a few things on the list. I think I’ll do some too.

    @macapagal

    Enjoy your midnight feast. Sounds fun.

    @Tabitha

    Thanks

  12. Gennaro says:

    @Lisa

    No red envelope for attending :)

    @Brian T.

    I read about the London parade. Sounds great.

  13. Seth says:

    I’m going to check out the parade this year. Nice to see people gathering for something positive.

  14. jen laceda says:

    Happy New Year! Indeed, may the year of the Ox brings us prosperity, health, and wisdom! Does this mean this is a lucky year for me since I was born in the year of the Ox as well (1973)?!

  15. Gennaro says:

    @jen lacada

    I definately think it’s a lucky year for you: Happy New Year :)

  16. maiylah says:

    i love eating pomelo …
    Kung Hei Fat Choi! :)

  17. Gennaro says:

    @maiylah

    Pomelo was a new discovery for me. It’s tasty. Happy New Year!

  18. Elijah says:

    This is an awesome post man! I think one of the most important aspects to have a good year is having an environment that promotes balance and fengshui. The unfortunate thing is that for people who are still working day jobs in cubicles it’s next to impossible to create fengshui at the office – which is why it’s even more important that we balance our environment at home!

    I’ve never had Pomelo.. sounds yummy!

  19. Gennaro says:

    @Elijah

    Totally agree. Environment goes a long way to balance and productivity. Try the Pomelo!

  20. T Edwards says:

    Very interesting! In my family, a bowl of black eyed peas on New Year is essential for good luck. It’s very cool that the more different people are, the more they are the same.

    Cool Post!

    T

  21. Gennaro says:

    @T Edwards

    Black-eyed peas, interesting! Thanks for sharing that. Welcome aboard.

  22. I think that there’s a lot we can learn from Chinese culture. I know a lot of people who hate the chinese, simply because they are a prosporous society. This annoys me, because if they are more prosporous than us, then that means that they are doing something right.

    I REALLY like the idea of cleansing the house and body at the beginning of the year. It’s like setting the tone for the rest of the year. It’s human nature to judge something based on how it begins and ends. If you start off a year properly, then you are setting off on the right foot.

  23. Gennaro says:

    @Trey

    It’s definately nice to start off a new year fresh. We all have things we’d do differently. This is the time to push the past away and start anew.

  24. iWalk says:

    Oh, I know the first tips the first time. I mean I always think the Citrus Fruit means money. But I think the good health and a long life is better means! Thanks Gennaro!

  25. kelly says:

    I think Chinese appreciate it very much when a non-Chinese notices all that you have! Another thing that Chinese consider good luck is the PULLING of Raw Fish strips (during Reunion Dinner which is ene of CNY) – the higher it’s pulled (vertically) from the table, the better. It’s symbolic to “mountainous loads of prosperity”! :D

  26. Gennaro says:

    @Kelly

    I think it’s important to notice all cultures. Chinese culture is fascinating :)

    Thanks for sharing about the pulling of raw fish strips!

  27. fly girl says:

    I always buy pommelos whenever I see them, now that I know they bring good luck, I’ll stock up! Or is that only during New Year celebrations?

  28. Gennaro says:

    @fly girl

    The luck is connected to the New Year, but they’re tasty all-year long!

  29. Sharon says:

    This was great! It is raining here in SF so it looks like another wet parade this year…but who cares! Bring on the dim sum, firecrackers and Tsingtao Beer.

  30. Gennaro says:

    @Sharon

    Thanks. I hear that the celebration in San Fran is quite good. The NYC one is usually quite festive. There is one in almost every borough.

  31. iWalk says:

    Hi Gennaro, I know how you work hard on your blogs and I love your post so much. So I have a Passionate Blogger Award for you, PLS check it here: Are You A Passionate Blogger?

  32. Gennaro says:

    @iWalk

    Thanks so much :)

  33. sherry says:

    Well, you really have a deep understanding of Chinese culture. I like the post.

  34. Gennaro says:

    @sherry

    Thank you for the kind words.

  35. Sandy says:

    How about dragon dance?

  36. Gennaro says:

    @Sandy – The dragon dance is definitely a fun part of Chinese culture.

  37. Kristine says:

    How long should we display the lucky charms in our homes? After Chinese New Year can we take it off or do we display it for the rest of the year?

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