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.
- Sweep the dust and dirt of the old year from your floors to make way for the new year.
- Decorate your house in the traditional Chinese colors of wealth and good fortune: brilliant shades of red and gold.
- Fill the rooms with flowers and blooming plants. They symbolize rebirth and new growth, and they ensure prosperity in the coming year.
- Force peach or flowering quince branches, or bowls of fragrant paper-white narcissus. (They too bring good fortune.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Ring in the new year with noisemakers to drive away evil spirits.
- 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.