Starting on February 1st, almost 2 billion people (or 20% of the global population) will celebrate Chinese New Year 2022! The joyous and meaningful celebration lasts over two weeks, and 2022 marks the Year of the Tiger. Keep reading to learn about the holiday and tips to honor and enjoy it, as well as ideas for hosting your own Chinese New Year gathering.
First, let’s talk a bit about the history and meanings behind the holiday. Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, marks the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar Chinese calendar. The origins of the holiday stem from a legend about the mythical beast Nian who would eat livestock and people on the eve of a new year. It’s said that a wise old man discovered the beast was scared of loud noises and the color of red. This led villagers to put red lanterns and red scrolls on their windows to stop him from coming inside their homes, and light firecrackers to scare Nian away. According to the story, it worked, and he never returned!
For modern Chinese families, this is a time to cleanse the home and sweep away ill fortune to make room for good luck, as well as welcome the coming warming weather.
Now, let’s dive into some fun ways to celebrate and honor the New Year:
DECORATIONS AND ACTIVITIES
When it comes to decorations, the color red is a very important part of the New Year celebration as it represents happiness and good fortune. Red is often brought into another important tradition, Paper Cutting Arts. These beautiful works of folk art are hung in home windows and sometimes called chuāng huā, which translates to window flower. With 2022 being the Year of the Tiger, you might incorporate tigers into your decorations as well. Paper Cutting Art is a fun activity to do with party guests or kids alike, and a great opportunity for everyone to learn about an important tradition and the history behind it.
The celebration spans 15 days with different activities taking place on each of them, culminating with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day. All types of lanterns are lit throughout the streets and often poems and riddles are written for entertainment. People will also write wishes on the side of the lantern and let it fly off into the heavens, hoping their wishes will come true in the new year. Consider hosting your own Lantern Festival celebration or attending a community event if there’s one near you.
Food is a major part of the Chinese New Year celebration. If you decide to host a gathering, here a few traditional foods you can prepare for your guests:
- Eight Treasures Rice, which contains rice, walnuts, different colored dry fruits, raisins, sweet red bean paste, jujube dates, and almonds
- “Tang Yuan” – black sesame rice ball soup; or a wonton soup
- Chicken, duck, fish and pork dishes
- “Song Gao” which translates to “loose cake,” this is made of rice which has been coarsely ground and then formed into a small, sweet round cake
- “Jiu Niang Tang” – sweet wine-rice soup which contains small rice balls
For dessert, Walkers has a number of recipes to add to your offerings, and you can create a fun and easy shortbread tray with oranges as shown above made with Walkers Shortbread Fingers. In China, oranges (mandarins in particular) are symbols of good luck and have been presented as gifts for centuries.
It is a tradition during the Lunar New Year to gift money in red envelopes to those close to you. These special red envelopes are a wish for the receiver to have a safe and peaceful year. If you’re having a celebration with your own family, this would be a fantastic way to honor a major tradition of the holiday, and share in the hope of a happy and healthy new year.
Gifts of all kinds are also a part of the Chinese New Year tradition, and Walkers Shortbread makes a wonderful host or hostess gift, as well as a perfect gift for those who come to your celebration. Whether it’s our Afternoon Tea in a Box or our Best Seller Assortment Gift , we have a variety of delicious treats to help ring in the Lunar New Year.
We hope you’ve learned some important and helpful information about what makes Chinese New Year so special and are excited to celebrate this upcoming holiday!