Are you looking for ideas to organize a Chinese New Year party? Also called Spring Festival, it is the most important celebration of the year in China with a history of over 4000 years. The festivities take place between January 21 and February 20, the date varying from year to year due to the lunar calendar. It starts on New Year’s Eve and ends with the Lantern Festival 16 days later. This year, Chinese New Year begins on January 25, 2020 and opens the Year of the Rat. Decoration and meal ideas, choice of clothing and activities, we give you all the secrets of an original and successful evening!
Room decoration: bet on red tones, the colour of luck and joy in China
For the decoration of your Chinese evening, choose accessories with a predominance of red, which represents the colour of luck and fortune in Chinese culture, and favour a soft and subdued atmosphere. For the room, choose typical decorations such as large fans, colourful lanterns, beautiful umbrellas, Chinese calligraphic signs, without forgetting the traditional dragon, symbol of the Emperor. You can furnish your chairs, sofas and armchairs with sheets or red and gold veils, and why not honour the rat which is the animal of this year 2020. A pretty screen with plays of light and shadow will also make a very nice effect, as will hangings of traditional envelopes reused for the occasion.
The New Year's Eve table: don't overload and keep it simple
For table decoration, offer your guests chopsticks! It’s fun and your guests will be able to measure their dexterity (sushi lovers leave with a slight advantage all the same!) We will choose a red and golden centerpiece, with why not some Asian prints, Chinese calligraphy or lotus flowers and orchid stems. You can place a beautiful teapot with its cups, some exotic fruits or the traditional fans. Other symbols can come to decorate your home, such as the panda, representations of the Great Wall of China, yin and yang, martial arts, Buddha or the Phoenix, symbol of the Empress. Finally, bamboo has its place through accessories such as straws, aperitif picks, plates or cutlery.
The New Year's meal: happiness and prosperity for the whole family... and pleasure for the taste buds.
The dishes prepared on Chinese New Year’s Eve are of great importance and symbolism that it is necessary to know to avoid the pitfalls. They are supposed to bring good luck and abundance for the coming year, and must be prepared with care and respect for customs. Among the dishes commonly prepared for New Year’s Eve, the Chinese fondue or « Hot Pot », based on meat, seafood and vegetables, is the festive dish par excellence. Chinese ravioli (or jiozi) stuffed with meat, shrimp or vegetables are also very popular. They can be boiled, steamed, fried or baked. Fish (often fully cooked) is an essential food and any festive meal must include fish. It represents abundance and means a year away from starvation. For dessert, you can enjoy niángāo, the sticky rice cake, and tāngyuáns, the sweet rice balls that symbolise happy family reunions. Finally, taste the fortune cookies (bought or homemade) with their message in the form of a prediction or a sometimes humorous maxim inside.
A traditional outfit for the Chinese New Year
Several possibilities are available to you in the choice of your New Year’s Eve outfit. You can easily find accessories, clothes and disguises representing traditional Chinese outfits such as dresses (also called qi pao or cheongsam in Cantonese), the hanfu (a kind of long tunic that gave its origin to the Japanese kimono), the pien fu (costume composed of two pieces, a long tunic as well as a skirt hiding the ankles) or the tangzhuang (traditional jacket). Very popular with men, shirts with a Mao collar are an elegant and comfortable alternative to wear for the evening. Finally, the most original ones will have the opportunity to dress up as Chinese celebrities like Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, in medieval samurai costumes or even in the skin of the animal of the year, our friend the rat!
Activities, games and traditions for a memorable Chinese New Year's Eve
As at Christmas in other countries, tradition dictates that gifts are exchanged during the evening. On this occasion, it is customary to offer red envelopes filled with money to the youngest, the colour red being supposed to bring good luck here too. If you opt for a Chinese evening with friends, you can revisit the tradition by exchanging small gifts wrapped in red paper in order to keep to the theme. Firecrackers (bianpao) and fireworks are of course an integral part of the party to mark the passage to the New Year at midnight, driving away demons with their noise and bringing peace and happiness for the New Year. However, beware of local regulations as they are often prohibited outside of certain occasions. Finally, the dragon dance, accompanied by traditional music played with drums, cymbals and gong, is a popular activity during the festivities.
A photobooth for Chinese New Year's Eve
To keep a lot of memories of the Chinese New Year, or simply during an evening on the theme of China, nothing is better than a photobooth! Indeed, a photobooth will allow you to capture all these moments of joy and happiness, thanks to photos and instant prints. Arrange a corner of the room or your living room that you will decorate for the occasion. Provide a screen for the background to perfectly match the theme, or simply a stretched sheet, preferably red and decorated with gold or black Chinese motifs or calligraphy. Don’t forget to hang a few lanterns, parasols and hangers and you’re ready to go! In addition to the snapshots the guests can take with them, you will get all the photos taken during the evening in an online gallery. The photo box is thus a perfect animation that is sure to please your guests.