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Chinese New Year Celebration at Home

While here in America we toast midnight on December 31st with champagne and kisses, the Chinese commemorate the start of their new year, also known as the Spring Festival, with customs that are centuries old.

Gong xi fa cai! 

Typically, the Chinese celebrate the New Year with food like dumplings, noodles, oranges, Taro cakes and fish, but yesterday hubby and I celebrated with a homemade dinner of peanut chicken and fried rice. Now, I obviously can't vouch for the authenticity of this meal, but I can tell you it was tasty and special.

As I chopped and cooked, I shared a few interesting facts I'd learned at work recently about the Chinese New Year with Matt. Aside from seeing some amazing cupcakes, crafty party ideas and sweet sips at work I also get to learn a ton about how people celebrate all over the world - it's one of my favorite parts of my job.

Here are few fun facts on surrounding Chinese New Year:

According to legend, Chinese New Year began with a battle against Nian, a mythical Chinese beast. Nian would come on the first day of the Spring Festival (New Year) and eat livestock, crops and villagers. To protect themselves, Chinese villagers would prepare a feast for Nian so he wouldn't eat them, the same foods they prepare during today's festival.

Ever wonder why the color red is so important? Not only is it symbolic of joy, truth and sincerity, the Chinese word for red, hóng , sounds like the Mandarin word hong, which means luck. More importantly, it is believed the Nian feared the color after it ran from a child wearing red.

A reunion dinner is held on Chinese New Year's eve with family members gathering to celebrate over a meal together. Typically the eldest family member will host the dinner party and the meal features a sumptuous feast of meat and fish. Just like here in the US, family will catch up while watching TV specials before the official arrival of New Year.

Though our small meal could hardly compare to the festivities that abound in China for their new year, it was nice to finally get in my kitchen and take a step out of my normal cooking style and break in my new wok.

It was also really great to share some tid-bits with Matt on Chinese New Year festivals. Did you know the party in China lasts up to 15 days? YEP. How great would it be to book a trip to China and experience that celebration? I think I mentioned this idea to Matt at least five times while prepping dinner last night.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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