Xin nian kuai le!
That’s how you say “Happy New Year” in Mandarin. Another greeting you can use for Chinese New Year is Gong Xi Fa Cai! Which is how you wish those you care about a prosperous new year. You can respond with Hong bao na lai! Which literally means, “bring me the red envelope.” I like to think we are a deep culture with quite the sense of humor.
This year Chinese New Year falls on February 8th, and the Monkey rules the year. My oldest was born in the year of the Monkey, so she’s very excited that this is her year.
I love the Chinese zodiac, it’s fascinating how characteristics of people born under certain animals that rule those years, seem to ring true. For my daughter, who was born under the sign of the Monkey, she is quick-witted, smart, clever, intelligent, gentle, honest, enthusiastic, sociable, innovative, and lots of fun. So if you’re also born under the Monkey Zodiac, do you find you are similar too?
Today I wanted to share 3 simple ways to celebrate Chinese New Year. I get it, we’re all busy and finding ways to simplify holidays helps me, immensely. Without further adieu, here are, 3 Simple Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year.
- Clean. Ha! I tricked you. You thought this was simple. We believe in having a tidy house for the new year, as we sweep away the cobwebs, and dust, and add a shine to our homes. We hope this will usher out any negative moments from the past year, as we welcome all the good fortune into our lives for the new year. Sometimes this whole cleaning bit, for me, is a case of how the spirit is willing, but the body; the body would rather take a nap, or read, or eat. The next simple way to celebrate Chinese New Year is better. Trust me.
- Eat. Yes! This is like a reward for all the cleaning and the preparing done for the new year, or in my case, the mere thought of cleaning. This might be my favorite simple way to celebrate Chinese New Year. Eat all the food. Feast! Choose noodles to encourage longevity. The longer the noodles, the better chances you have of not kicking the bucket before your time. Eat dumplings, that look like silver ingots for a prosperous year. The more dumplings you eat, the fatter your
bumwallet. Eating oranges and pomelos bring the same prosperity. Plus, they’re delicious. Handy tip, check out Costco for giant, juicy Pomelos. If you see a cart full of them, it’s probably mine.
- Give. Specifically, give red envelopes, filled with cash. Red is a color that symbolizes happiness, luck and energy. So when you give family and friends red envelopes, it’s a symbol of wishing them well in the new year. As a child I remember getting red envelopes, and I remember how I was taught to receive them. I bowed my head and received the envelope with both hands to show respect. I may or may not have scampered away quickly, to open up the envelope politely in private, to check how much was actually in the envelope. Fine. That wasn’t me. I kind of wished it was, it would make me so much more interesting as a kid. Instead I was a super-polite, rule-follower that felt slightly uncomfortable receiving gifts. My, how times have changed. In our family growing up, only the kids received red envelopes. Once you grew up, you were out of luck.
Since I want to offer you simplicity this year, you can purchase the darling red envelopes, pictured above, from my friend Chrissy Jee, The Dumpling Mama. She’s extending a 20% off code to all of you, my fabulous readers. Use the code: AFAMILYLIVESHERE for 20% at her store. She just sent me some, and the designs are beautiful. I love the heft of the paper quality as well. Stock up now, the code AFAMILYLIVESHERE expires February 29th, 2016. Gong xi fa cai!
If you live in the Sacramento Area, you can celebrate Chinese New Year with the Chinese New Year Cultural Association (CNYCA) on Saturday, January 30, 2016. Visit their website for ticket prices and more information.
Learn more about our traditions and important issues for the New Year from my fellow #AsianMomBloggers:
- Maria at Bicultural Mama: Baked Egg Rolls Recipe for Chinese New Year
- Grace at HapaMama: Ways to Share Chinese New Year This Year of the Monkey
- Phyllis from Napkin Hoarder: Deep bows, good luck, & celebrating a New Year twice #AsianMomBloggers
- Stephanie from A Family Lives Here: 3 Simple Ways To Celebrate Chinese New Year
- Thien-Kim at I’m Not the Nanny: Why I’m Not Going All Out for Lunar New Year
- Ilina from Dirt and Noise: Jay Chaudhuri – Career Citizen for NC Senate Applauds President’s New Gun Violence Reduction Measures