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Celebrate Chinese New Year

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Summer Funr

This year, gather your family around to welcome the Chinese New Year with a touch of Asian flair. Use the following menu and tips to prepare an authentic feast and start the year on a lucky note.

As Many Dishes As People!

Enjoy it family style:

The rule in organizing a Chinese family meal is to plan on one dish per person. All dishes are set out together and shared by everyone at the table.

Sweet endings:

Though not known for their desserts, exotic fruits accompanied by refreshing ice cream may be served to soothe the palate after a meal.

Cheers to that:

Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese do not drink tea with their meals (except perhaps in the South in the Canton region) but rather broth or (occasionally) rice or sorghum wine, or beer.

Symbolic Foods

Like so many other holidays, food is the focal point. The whole family gathers around a table laden with dishes that symbolize happiness, wealth, fertility, luck, success and long life.

  • LONG LIFE: Dish featuring long, uncut noodles (the longer the better)
  • WEALTH: Dish featuring a whole fish
  • FERTILITY: Dates and chestnuts
  • YOUTH and SPIRITUALITY: Green vegetables
  • GOOD FORTUNE: Bean thread noodles
  • LUCK and PROSPERITY: Foods fried in oil
  • TOGETHERNESS: Round foods
  • HEALTH: Oranges (to eat or to decorate the table)

Décor and Ambience

In decorating for your party, remember the following elements that help repel bad luck and attract good luck.

  • Decorate the dining and living rooms with red lanterns and vases filled with brightly-coloured flowers.
  • Set the table with a red tablecloth and napkins.
  • Place a large plate of oranges and tangerines on the table—the Chinese consider them deeply symbolic of good health.
  • Ideally, the table should be round with a lazy Susan in the middle so that people can avoid reaching across and disturbing their dining companions.
  • Set a small plate, a porcelain spoon, small soup bowl, saucer for the sauce, wine cup and chopsticks at each place at the table.
  • Tie up the chopsticks with a strip of paper bearing a short description of the person's Chinese sign or a Chinese proverb.
  • Post the menu at the door and give dishes poetic names inspired by Chinese proverbs.

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Decoration Ideas for Children

  • Come up with ideas featuring the animal of the year.
  • Prepare red envelopes for the children and slip a bill or coin into each one. It will bring them luck throughout the year.
  • Don't forget the sparklers! They're a great substitute for the fireworks that traditionally chase away evil spirits.