Join in Chinese New Year celebrations at home and welcome the Year of the Tiger

New Year celebrations in the western calendar may seem like a distant memory now but for our Chinese communities, the big event is just around the corner. Chinese New Year – or Lunar New Year takes places on Tuesday, 1 February, when the Year of the Tiger will be welcomed in with traditional celebrations around the world.

By
Deborah Welsh
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 1:40pm
Join in Chinese New Year celebrations at home and welcome the Year of the Tiger

This important date is also known as Spring Festival and the date varies every year to coincide with the relevant year’s lunar cycle. The Chinese zodiac has a 12 -year cycle and each year is represented by an animal. 2022 sees the return of the mighty tiger.

There are many lovely, cultural traditions associated with Lunar New Year and the festivities are known to last up to two weeks (I’ve known some Scottish ones to do likewise!)

Normally, celebrations worldwide are lavish spectacles but these are likely to be scaled down again this year, owing to the pandemic. However, for those observing the holiday, it’s largely spent with family enjoying delicious food and hopefully attracting good fortune in the coming year.

If you wouldn’t usually pay too much attention to this special date in the calendar, it’s always fun and informative to learn about other cultures and join in the festivities. Any happy events (especially ones that involve food) is cause for celebration in my opinion. Any excuse for a party, right?

So why not plan a little Lunar New Year celebration at home with your nearest and dearest, sending good wishes to our friends in the Chinese community.

Putting up some decorations is one of the simplest ways to get into the spirit of the holiday with red being the signature colour of Chinese New Year festivities.

You could treat yourself to a new red outlift or adorn your house with dazzling red decorations. Chinese tradition suggests the colour is sure to bring good luck.

If you’re not sure of where to start getting all this stuff, simply go to Party Delights website (www.partydelights.co.uk)

You’ll be able to usher in the Year of the Tiger in style with their fabulous selection of party supplies for the occasion. Choose from decorative dragons, lanterns, banners, bunting and garlands.

The site also has some cracking tableware essentials such as napkins, plates, and cups, and of course, the centrepiece of all Chinese New Year celebrations – red money envelopes.

The giving of red money envelopes is another lucky ritual. It’s common for adults to give children these gifts and is thought to ward off evil spirits.

Speaking of the wee ones, you could always get the kids involved in some crafting fun and make your own paper lanterns. They will enjoy stringing them up around the house or in their bedrooms.

Take a look at Activity Village’s website (www.activityvillage.co.uk) for some great Chinese New Year themed arts and craft ideas. There are suggestions on how to make paper dragons, blossoms, lanterns and origami as well as some gorgeous printables for the kids to colour in. Remember to use plenty of red and gold.

As I mentioned earlier, food also plays a big part in Chinese New Year festivities. You could always find out if any of your local restaurants are planning any special events or menus, but you may find many of them will be closed for their own celebrations. In that case, simply stock up on some Chinese produce and ingredients from your local supermarket and cook up a feast at home.

You can make whatever you fancy but popular, traditional dishes include fish, dumplings, spring rolls, sweet rice balls and a sticky rice cake called Nian Gao.

Don’t forget to pick up some fortune cookies to hand out after the meal. This ritual is always good for a bit of light-hearted fun as we eagerly crack open the treats to reveal our fate.

Continue your jollification after dinner with some outdoor fun too. Firecrackers and fireworks feature heavily in Chinese New Year celebrations and it’s believed the louder the firecracker, the luckier the forthcoming year will be for farmers and businesses. If you don’t want to cause too much of a racket outside, then maybe a few sparklers will suffice.

Celebrations may have less of a fanfare again this year because of Covid restrictions but you can still make the most of it from the comfort of your own home. And, as 2022 is the year of the Tiger, we should all embody the spirit of this animal. The zodiac tiger is said to symbolise strength and bravery and apparently tigers’ positive traits include kindness and enthusiasm. Here’s hoping 2022 brings an abundance of good fortune for everyone and that’s surely something to celebrate.

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