The Chinese New Year (CNY) is abundant with many traditions and customs. In most cases, a great deal of attention is paid to both decorating the home as well as choosing items that represent good fortune and prosperity for the new year. If you are hosting a Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival) reunion dinner or inviting guests over this New Year, here’s how you can set and decorate your cozy home to usher in blessings for the Year of the Roaring Tiger.
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1. SPRING FESTIVAL COUPLETS
Spring festival couplets are one of the most common and important customs when celebrating Chinese New Year. Poetry lines are pasted vertically on both sides of the front door, but they can also be found in living rooms, stores, schools and businesses. A scroll with four characters of prosperity, good fortune, good health and good luck is commonly hung above a doorway. Pasting these couplets expresses people’s delight in the festival and wishes for a better life in the coming year. You may consider traditional couplets that are done with ink and brush but this requires excellent calligraphy skills that not everyone has. Alternatively, printed ones are definitely easier for most people (us included)! These ready-made door couplets are bright, cheap and convenient and easily available in places such as Chinatown or even in heartland convenience stores. They are normally delicate and colourful in design, with liberal use of the colours red and gold which are extremely suitable for your CNY home decor!
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2. RED PACKETS
When it comes to CNY, you WILL definitely see red packets or ang baos! Everyone loves to see red packets ($$$!). Parents and married couples typically use red packets to give money to their children and unmarried youths as a way of wishing them prosperity, happiness and success. If you have too many red packets to deal with, you can use them to decorate orange/mandarin trees to represent additional wealth, prosperity and luck–no need to toss them into the landfill. Let’s reuse and reduce for a zero waste CNY! Additionally, you can use the red packets to make these simple crafts with your children (and their cousins when they come visit) to strengthen their motor skills and creativity too! Need ideas? Here are some of our picks! Try them and wow your guests with these handmade decorations.
Easy Chinese New Year Red Packet Decoration DIY | Three Easy Hongbao Lantern Ideas.
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3. UPSIDE DOWN FUK (福)
Fuk (*) is a Chinese character that signifies good fortune, and when it is upside down, it symbolizes wealth flowing to an individual from above. The word for “upside down” is a homophone of the word for “here” (到). This pun represents that good fortune is coming, or is already here. It is a common practice to hang the character upside down on doors of homes (and businesses too) during the CNY season and the character is usually written on a diamond-shaped red paper. Get ready for good fortune pouring in and coming through the door!
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4. CHINESE RED LANTERNS
Chinese red lanterns are commonly used during CNY and mid-autumn festivals as they are meant to emulate the full moon. During Chinese New Year, you will see them hung outside homes and businesses. In fact, these are some of the most iconic CNY decorations that you will see around Singapore since they will quickly create a festive and auspicious atmosphere. Traditionally, Chinese Lanterns are hung to symbolise happiness and are believed to ward off bad luck. Try making 1 red packet lantern using the video provided above (under red packets) and use it as part of your CNY decors! Good to know: There are other types of Chinese lanterns such as floating lanterns and sky lanterns but are not permitted in Singapore since sky lanterns cannot be controlled during flight, posing a danger to lives, and causing damages to aircraft and property.
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5. KUMQUAT, ORANGE & MANDARIN TREES
In the Chinese language, orange and tangerine are words for good fortune and wealth, and orange and golden colours are symbolic of gold and money. During the New Year, these trees are often purchased and placed in many homes as a symbol of wealth, luck, and prosperity. If you are wondering what to get as CNY gifts, kumquat trees can be an option. They are often given as gifts to wish good luck or fortune! Remember, the more fruit a tree has, the more luck and wealth it is supposed to bring, so make sure you grab the fruitiest one!
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6. CHERRY, PLUM BLOSSOMS AND ORCHIDS
There are many flowers associated with CNY but to simplify things, we have decided to highlight these 3 flowers. These long and delicate branches of cherry and plum blossoms and orchids symbolize longevity, spring and rebirth. Chinese traditions and Chinese New Year are strongly linked to these flowers because they are the first blossoms after the winter season. They symbolize a new beginning and good fortune. They will also lead to fruits, which is another symbol associated with fortune. But why wait till CNY to have them in your home? Have them now to bring in the fortune!
And there you have it! If you’re confident in tackling the Chinese New Year decorating now after reading this, but not so sure about the cooking – we are here to help! We can help you enjoy a blissful and delicious Chinese New Year reunion lunch or dinner with your loved ones – including canapés, mini buffet and even drinks. Get in touch with our team now to organise and check this task off your CNY to-do list!
Check out our other blog posts on Chinese New Year: 8 Most Popular Chinese New Year greetings and 6 Traditional Chinese New Foods That Will Bring You Good Luck.