Did you know that the biggest New Year’s party just started? The year of the dog has officially arrived, ringing in the Chinese New Year celebration and triggering one of the largest human migrations around the world (think of it as one big family reunion across China). While here in the west we’re still clinging to our New Year’s resolutions of six weeks ago, the Chinese are just settling into a nearly 15 day celebration of good luck and cheer.
Want to impress your friends and co-workers? Here are eight (the luckiest number in China) ways to do so as the year of the dog kicks off!
- Greet your friends by saying “xin nian kuai le” (or phonetically, “shin nee-ann ‘qu-why’-la”) – “Happy New Year’s” in Chinese!
- Decorate everything in red and wear new clothes. The Chinese will hang red lanterns and chili peppers (see the picture below taken in 2016 in Beijing during a DAO Labs sourcing trip for inspiration) to help kick off the celebration.
- Eat lots of dumplings (it’s more of a northern Chinese thing, but just roll with it - dumplings are so good), as is customary for this scrumptious holiday. It’s not uncommon to eat dumplings for every meal, so stock up (see chef Travis Metzger enjoying dumplings in Shanghai, circa 2015, below).
- Give out lots of money in red envelopes, particularly to kids. Not only will you make people happy, but symbolically you’ll be transferring “good fortune” from the older generation to the new.
- Ward off evil spirits, monsters and bad luck by lighting firecrackers (only where it’s legal!). For these reasons, Chinese New Years once upon a time triggered the largest firework display in the world, but much less so now as most major cities have banned them given the impact on air pollution (however based on our experiences in China, that doesn’t seem to stop anybody).
- Take the next two weeks off – Chinese New Year lasts about 15 days, marking the longest public holiday in China. Spend time with family members, and get ready for spring cleaning (a major activity toward the end of Chinese New Year).
- Don’t shower on Chinese New Year’s day – you’d be washing away good luck! By similar logic, don’t sweep or throw out any garbage this day either.
- Make sure to join the global party: one out of every five people on this planet is Chinese, and that’s not including the millions of Chinese citizens living around the world. Look for Chinese New Year celebrations in just about every major city around the world.
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What better way to (re)start the New Year?