Friday, January 30, 2009

What is Chinese New Year and party ideas

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly.
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.

Fireworks and Family Feasts:
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits. The following ideas are from me and other websites like

Invitation Ideas:
1. Write invitation on home-made paper lantern (use red construction paper)
2. In shape of Chinese dragon or animal of the year (example: Ox for 2009)
3. Write "Gung Hay Fat Choy!" (Happy New Year)
4. Use photos or pictures from a China travel brochure, magazine or web site
5. Fan invitation printed with the details of your event
6. You can hand-deliver Oriental Mini Party Boxes to your guests. Include a hand-written invitation inside along with some wrapped fortune cookies.
7. You can send the invitation tied to a pair of chopsticks. Use red card stock and a gold paint pen for the invitation. Tie the invitation to the chopsticks with a black ribbon.

Decor Ideas:
1. Chinese Lanterns
2. Chinese travel posters
3. Zodiac signs
4. Everything in red and black with accents of white
5. Make your own red tube firecrackers (
6. Hang Chinese paper lanterns over your table.

Table Setting:
1. If you don't have a lot of matching red, black or white dishes... then buy paper or plastic ones in one of those colors that are square.
2. Use red table cloths and napkins folded in the shape of fans .
3. Set your table with chopsticks as well as flatware.
4. Lay an open Chinese fan on each place setting.

Food Ideas:
1. Dim Sum
2. Get it catered if it is a small group of friends
3. Potluck. Assign out a couple main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, and you do dessert and drinks.
4. Have egg rolls on the table with a dipping sauce. On the buffet bar have a veggie dish, a carb like rice or noodles, and a meat dish like Kung Pao Chicken or Shrimp Chow Mien. Serve fortune cookies with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Favor Ideas:
1. Chopsticks
2. Red envelope with money (coins) inside or gold chocolate coins
3. Stuffed animal or plastic animal of the Zodiac animal of the year
4. China postcard
5. Send home your party favors (fortune cookies or almond cookies would be great) in a Chinese food takeout box, available in craft and party stores
6. Paper fans are timeless favorites, but another great favor is a Chinese take-out box filled with candy, baked goods or other small favors.

Top 10 Chinese Appetizers:
Crab Rangoon
Bacon wrapped Water chestnuts
Spring Rolls
Paper Wrapped Chicken
Beef Teriaki
Fried Won tons
Lettuce Wraps
Szechuan Guacamole

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