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Party Like It’s 4714: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Style

Saturday, January 28th marks the start of the Lunar New Year (also commonly known as Chinese New Year), with the coming year being the year of the Rooster.  The Lunar New Year is celebrated at the turn of the lunisolar Chinese calendar.  Since it’s determined by the new moon that falls between January 21st and February 20th (by the Gregorian calendar) it happens on a different day each year.  Since this year it happens to fall on a Saturday, we have plenty of opportunity to celebrate!

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    While there are many regional customs and traditions for celebrating the new year that can widely vary, some are more common between them all.  One tradition is for every family to thoroughly clean their homes in order to sweep away bad fortune and prepare the space for good luck.  Brooms and dustpans are then put away on the first day of the new year to make sure that the good luck cannot be swept away.  Homes are often decorated with red paper cutouts and couplets with themes of good fortune and happiness.  Red is a very important color for the Lunar New Year because it’s believed to frighten the evil spirits.  It’s also tradition to set off firecrackers and make as much noise as possible to chase off the evil spirits.  The biggest event of the Lunar New Year is the Reunion dinner that takes place on New Year’s eve.  The dinner is a time for family members to gather and give thanks for the safe passage of the previous year and remember their ancestors.

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    Since the Reunion Dinner is such an important part of the New Year festivities, we think having a Lunar New Year dinner party, with family or friends, is a great idea.  There are a lot of beautiful and creative options for New Year’s party decorating, but some traditional decorations include red paper lanterns to drive off bad luck, paper cuttings for luck and happiness, and blooming flowers for wishes of a prosperous new year.  Popular flowers to use are plum blossoms, orchids, peonies, and peach blossoms.  A quick table decoration idea is to make paper fortune cookies out of temporary wallpaper scraps (the Genevieve Gorder Brass Belly pattern is perfect!).

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 Of course a major part of a dinner party is the food.  While you don’t have to offer all traditional Chinese dishes at your party, we recommend at least serving some dumplings.  Not only are they delicious but they symbolize wealth, and who isn’t looking for a little extra wealth this year?  Another traditional reunion dinner dish that would be great for a party is a communal hot pot.  It symbolizes the coming together of family members for the meal and is a wonderful way to bring people together.  If you’re feeling ambitious you could make a traditional hot pot, but using a slow cooker might be easier.  Whatever you decide to serve at your party, just remember to do all the cleaning before the new year starts – you don’t want to bring yourself bad luck by picking up the broom!

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Photo courtesy of The Woks of Life 

    We also love the rich reds and warm golds associated with the Lunar New Year and think you could easily work them into your decor to keep the festive feeling year round.  You can find some of our red and gold picks in the Lunar New Year Collection.

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To all our readers, may all your wishes be fulfilled, and your happiness without limit.  Happy New Year!

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