Chinese Dragon Table Decorations
Chinese Dragon Table Decorations – Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in China. Celebrate with traditional colors, symbols and, of course, food.
Chinese New Year began as a way to bring the family together to honor household deities. Chinese New Year (other countries may refer to it as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) remains one of the most important holidays in China. Its focus has shifted beyond family and into community, and it’s a time for luck, food, and family.
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Justin Young shares how his Chinese-American family celebrates the new year. He advises: “Take it all! Chinese New Year is more than just one night, it actually lasts 15 days and there are so many different things to do, traditions to follow and foods to eat. Here’s how to celebrate Chinese New Year.
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First things first. If you have a friend, you’ll probably fix it first. But cleaning on Chinese New Year is more than a good welcome. It is traditionally done to erase bad luck for the current year. Then, when guests arrive, ask them to remove their shoes at the door to encourage a clean and smooth transition into the new year.
Young tells us: “In my family, we all took part in cleaning the house and preparing for the new year. I bet my mom would say she did most of the cleaning though.
A good party needs vibrant decorations. A Chinese New Year custom is to hang red paper ornaments on windows, doors and around the house. This tradition is believed to originate from an ancient legend involving a beast called Nian (the name is a Chinese word for “year”), which was known to be terrified of the color red.
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Red also symbolizes power, happiness, and vitality, so you’ll want to use red whenever you can in your decor. For example, tie red paper lanterns or place red flowers in vases around the room. Red velvet cake, anyone? You can also set the mood with signature red cocktails like Pomegranate Cosmos and mocktails like Raspberry Fresher.
Although the traditional Chinese New Year decoration is red, it should be highlighted with gold. Gold represents wealth, good luck and prosperity – all important themes for the new year. And who couldn’t use a small fortune?
It is also a Chinese New Year tradition to write messages wishing loved ones luck, good fortune, wealth, prosperity and longevity. Put these messages where people will find them. For an added touch of luck, write messages in gold ink on red paper. You could even make your invites red with gold lettering (or at least send an email in red font).
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Chinese tradition says that each new year is imbued with the characteristics of one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. It is also tradition to decorate the house with images of the zodiac animal at the entrance. This year we will celebrate the Year of the Rabbit!
The dragon is a beloved symbol of Chinese New Year – representing strength, kindness and good luck, as well as supernatural forces – so you’ll want to incorporate dragons into your holiday decorations. For example, you can stretch a long red dragon wreath along the ceiling or wall.
As for lions, they celebrate strength, stability and superiority on Chinese New Year. Young tells us, “My favorite Chinese New Year memories are watching lion dance performances throughout my Chinatown community in New York. I was part of an organization called the Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute and we would parade through Chinatown to wish the community and business good luck in the new year.
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Another Chinese New Year tradition is the exchange of gifts in a very specific way: small red envelopes filled with “lucky money”. Envelopes symbolize good luck.
You can provide envelopes for guests to give to each other or yourself. If you want to change your mind about lucky money envelopes, hand out little red bags and fill them with homemade candies for a sweet year!
Young says, “It’s not a Chinese New Year celebration without food. Food is a big part of the party!” Historically, the Chinese New Year celebration lasted 15 days and certain foods were eaten on certain days and times. For example, in the first five days of the new year, people ate long noodles (symbolizing long life). On the 15th day, people ate noodles in the shape of a full moon, which symbolized family and perfection. Bring those traditions back to your party by serving Fried Chicken with Noodles and Asian Chicken Noodles.
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“My favorite habit is to get my family together for a big feast. The food is endless and there are so many delicious things to eat,” says Young. His parents made or bought little cakes called
, or lucky cakes. “My parents cooked them on Chinese New Year morning,” he says, “so my first meal would be good luck and blessed.”
For dessert, be sure to include oranges and tangerines, which represent wealth, luck and happiness. And don’t forget the fortune cookies! DIY or order a set of personalized party favors to surprise family and friends.
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Another Chinese New Year dessert? Whip up a batch of homemade Chinese almond cookies or buy store-bought almond cookies. Bonus points for serving them with red and gold dragon napkins.
It is said that no Chinese New Year celebration is really complete without fireworks, because the terrible beast Nian is terrified of light and noise. Also, the noise awakens a magical dragon that will fly across the sky to bring spring rain for bountiful harvests. If you decide to go with the fireworks tradition, be sure to hire a trained professional to safely detonate them, so to speak. Have a happy Chinese new year!
As an Associate Affiliate Ecommerce Editor, Megan Wood helps Taste of Home readers find the best products to make their lives better, easier, and more joyful. She has 10 years of experience in service journalism and product review on multiple national websites. When she’s not tracking the best sales and deals, you can probably find her walking her dog.
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