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Celebrating Chinese New Year

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Celebrating Chinese New Year

On the traditional Asian calendar, New Year's Day falls sometime between late January and late February, depending on the year. But in Chinese and many Chinese-American households, the festivities last for two weeks or more.


  • China is a big place, and customs vary from region to region, just as they do throughout Chinese-American communities in the United States.
  • Remember, the object is to have fun and bring light to the dark days of winter. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to be "authentic" or "accurate" in your celebrations.


  1. Sweep the dust and dirt of the old year from your floors to make way for the new year.
  2. Decorate your house in the traditional Chinese colors of wealth and good fortune: brilliant shades of red and gold.
  3. Fill the rooms with flowers and blooming plants. They symbolize rebirth and new growth, and they ensure prosperity in the coming year.
  4. Force peach or flowering quince branches, or bowls of fragrant paper-white narcissus. (They too bring good fortune.)
  5. Order a traditional New Year's Day dinner from a Chinese restaurant - either to eat on the spot or to bring home and serve at your own party.
  6. Cook your own luck-drawing dishes. Include foods such as oysters, which represent good fortune and success, fish, representing surplus, and lettuce, representing wealth, riches and prosperity.
  7. Ring in the new year with noisemakers to drive away evil spirits.
  8. Attend your town's Chinese New Year's parade. If there isn't one, splurge on a trip to the big celebrations in New York or San Francisco.


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