CHINESE NEW YEAR PARTY PLANNER
WHAT IS CHINESE NEW YEAR?
Chinese New Year is China’s most popular traditional holiday. Chinese New Year is a time
for feasting, family reunions, and fun! Every year Asians throughout the world spend
weeks preparing for the 15-day celebration, officially called the Spring Festival. In 2007,
Chinese New Year falls on February 18th. It is year 4705, the year of the Boar or Pig
according to the ancient Chinese calendar. New Year season lasts for 15 days. The first
week is the most important and often celebrated with visits to friends and family as well as
greetings of good luck. The celebrations end on the important and colorful Lantern Festival
on the evening of the 15th day of the month.
WHY IS IT THE YEAR OF THE PIG?
The Chinese animal signs are a 12-year cycle used for dating the years. They represent a
cyclical concept of time, rather than the Western linear concept of time. The Chinese
Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is constructed in a different fashion
than the Western solace calendar. In the Chinese calendar the beginning of the year falls
somewhere between late January and early February. The Chinese have adopted the
western calendar since 1911, but the lunar calendar is still used for festive occasions.
According to Chinese legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head
the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest: whoever was to
reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the rest of the animals would
receive their years according to their finish. All the twelve animals gathered at the
riverbank and jumped in. Unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped upon his back. As the ox
was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox’s back, and won the race. The pig, who
was very lazy, ended up last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox
the second, and the pig last.
FOODS FOR CHINESE NEW YEAR
Several foods are eaten to usher in wealth, happiness and good fortune.
Fish-Is usually eaten on the eve of Chinese New Year.
Dumplings-Eaten traditionally because the preparation is similar to packaging luck
inside the dumpling, which is later eaten.
Candy-To ensure the eater a “sweet” year.
Oranges and Tangerines-They are symbols for abundant happiness.
FOOD AND DRINK FOR YOUR CHINESE NEW YEAR PARTY
Find a local Chinese restaurant and order appetizers. Call ahead and ask them to
fax you a menu or drop by and get one. For small groups choose 4-5 items for large
groups choose 6-8 items. Serve Chinese tea, Chinese beer and an Asian influenced
mixed drink. Make sure you have chopsticks and fortune cookies!
OTHER CHINESE NEW YEAR PARTY IDEAS
Firecrackers and noisemakers-The loud popping noises are thought to scare
away evil spirits.
Red Clothing-Red is thought to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. Also,
people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize starting
anew in the new year.
Money Envelopes-Hand out good luck money wrapped in little red envelopes.
Play a Kung Fu movie in the background.
Play some Chinese music.
Hire a fortune-teller.
Have everyone wear a nametag with they’re Chinese Zodiac Animal on it.
Read aloud the personality traits they have.
Decorate with Chinese lanterns, bamboo placemats and table runners, paper
dragons, oriental fans, strings of lights, and origami.