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Throw a Party for the Chinese New Year

Mar 27, 2008
Whether it's the year of the Snake, the Rat, or the Pig, a Chinese New Year Celebration can be a fun excuse for dressing up and heralding a new year. With another chance to make some resolutions and hope for the best, this festive time of the year doesn't have to be limited to just those from China. And even if your town doesn't have a Chinatown, you can welcome in this new period of possibility by throwing a shindig.

When's the Party?

Before you get out your wok and start celebrating, the Chinese New Year isn't like Christmas where it falls on the same day every year. Since this is a lunar holiday, the date shifts each year, falling sometime in late January to mid February. Checking with your local Chinese American organization can help you nail down the date for the current year. It generally starts with the darkest day of January -- or the new moon -- and then goes on until the full moon, about two weeks later. A long party, indeed, requiring the proper set of kitchen supplies to organize.

What's the Big Deal?

This New Year celebration is a time of beckoning wealth and prosperity. Traditionally, families will use the color red to help drive away the bad luck of the year. So, you can wear red, decorate in red, and even write down goals and poems on red paper. But since red is also a symbol of fire in this culture, you might also see broad fireworks displays and bamboo pieces lit to further ward off bad luck and ill times.

What you might recognize from this celebration is the ending parades and paper lanterns that adorn areas with high concentrations of Chinese Americans. These lanterns are decorated with animals, flowers, and even zodiac signs to help bring new light into the New Year -- much as the full moon is doing.

The dragon dance involves a 100 foot long dragon that dances around during a weekend celebration to further celebrate the incoming New Year -- whatever it might be.

How Can You Celebrate?

If you're not too hung over from the United State's version of new year's, start with the proper kitchen supplies, a wok or two, and start the celebration by cooking authentic (or as close to it as you can) Chinese dishes. Get out a cookbook and see what you can learn as you begin a new tradition with your friends and family.

You might also want to dress your home in red and burn pieces of red paper which have your bad habits written on them. This way, you can begin anew and perhaps those other resolutions will stick... this time.

Or you could always head to the local Chinese New Year celebration. All are welcome and it can be a fun time for you and your family to share the hope of prosperity and beginnings with others.
About the Author
Able Kitchen (http://www.ablekitchen.com) sells kitchen supplies and other restaurant equipment online for great prices due to large bulk purchases. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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