Chinese New Year for dummies
Sofia Fredrikson gives us some tips for a firecrackin’ Chinese New Year celebration
January 31 marks the beginning of Chinese New Year 2014. As London’s Global University, it’s time to stop horsing around and get to grips with the celebration.
For some, the New Year starts on January 1, and is celebrated by regretting the previous nights drunken accomplishments. Chinese New Years, however, is made up of a fifteen day long festival where it seems the main focus is family, food, happiness and an animal (this year it’s the horse). So why not join in the celebrations, and host your very own Chinese New Years Party?
After asking one of my Chinese friends what her thoughts about the festivities were, I have managed to compile a list of things that will make your inauthentic Chinese New Years Party the stuff of legends.
1. The food. It’s not that difficult to bulk order the Chinese grub from your closest takeaway, however what you may not know is that each food is symbolic and auspicious. Fish symbolises good fortune, prawns symbolise laughing and happiness and spring rolls symbolise wealth (the list goes on).
2. Clean up! By cleaning your house, it is believed that you will sweep away the bad luck from the previous year. Finally a good reason to bring out the vacuum and clear your sad little dorm of growing dust bunnies.
3. Decorate. Go heavy on the red. It might not be your colour, but it symbolises good luck, and we all need some of that. It is also thought to scare off the monster Nian, who comes lurking on New Years Eve. It is also customary to have 8 different types of candy in bowls (8, because it is a lucky number. Candy, because yum).
4. Dress to impress. The time to bring out that spontaneously bought Chinese dress has finally come. If you don’t have anything Chinese to wear, fear not. Stick with red and gold, and avoid the black (it brings bad luck and even death. Yikes!) Unless you can dress like a panda, then be a panda.
5. Get cracking on those firecrackers. Not only are they fun, loud and obnoxious, but they will also scare away the bad spirits. Win win win.
If all else fails, fear not. Head down to Chinatown and immerse yourself in the culture. Bring friends, pick up a horse mask, and get a proper feel for what Chinese New Years is about in London.