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Chinese New Year Decoration Tips

Chinese New Year Decoration Tips
By Anastasia Chapman

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The beginning of a New Year is reason enough to rejoice, no matter where you are! Gala events, epic night-time adventures, a pulsating atmosphere punctuated with the best of cuisines, beverages and merriment, these are the exact things one would think of when talking about the New Year's eve. However, if you are a foreigner living in China, gear up to ring in the New Year differently.

 

Ushering of the New Year along with the celebrations is a family affair, for most in China. A lot of people like to observe the occasion following traditional Chinese rituals, while others go the contemporary route to make the most of the Chinese New Year. If you happen to visit China during the New Year, here's something you should know about the event.

 

Overview

Chinese New Year Decoration for Foreigners Pic 1

The Chinese New Year is more commonly known as the Spring Festival. It is the grandest festival in modern mainland China that lasts up to 7 days. Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February, and in 2019 it falls on the 5th of February. Each Chinese zodiac year begins on the Chinese New Year's Day. Going by the 12-year animal zodiac cycle followed traditionally by the Chinese, 2019 is the year of the PIG.

 

The Pig occupies the last (12th) position in the Chinese Zodiac, and it is believed to be the most unlucky for people born in previous years of the Pig. Paired with the earthly branch (鍦版敮鈥攄矛 zh墨) h脿i (浜), and the hours 9鈥11 in the night, Pigs are considered the symbol of wealth in Chinese culture. So to eliminate all misfortune, decorations involve the colour red and gold, and images considered lucky by the Chinese culture.

Chinese New Year Decoration for Foreigners Pic 2

An event full of joy and anticipation, Chinese people get ready for the excitement of the celebrations ahead. Preparations for the New Year start a couple of weeks before the big day. So, this is the time to clean the house, give the house a new and fresh look, and prepare food for the gala feast. As a foreigner, you, too, could participate in the festivities by decking up your home space, just like the Chinese do during this time of year.

 

Before you start decorating your home space make sure you clean your house inside out. It is a long-observed Chinese tradition, therefore, a year-end cleaning of the house starting from the walls, the ground and every nook and cranny of your humble abode is done just before the New Year鈥檚 celebrations kick in.

 

It鈥檚 meant to drive off the old things or bad luck out of one鈥檚 house and get ready for new beginnings. Once done with cleaning the house here are the top Chinese New Year decoration tips for foreigners living in China.

 

Paste Spring Festival Couplets on the Doorways

TP 201902 interior 02

Door couplets are usually pasted in pairs on doorways or entryways, as part of the Spring Festival decoration. This custom can be traced back over a thousand years to the Later Shu State. These decoration pieces contain Chinese calligraphy in black ink on red paper engraved with positive statements or good wishes for the coming year. Many couplets even have poems about the arrival of spring, while others have thoughts on prosperity and harmony.

 

Hang Chinese Red Lanterns

TP 201902 interior 03

Red lanterns hanging outside the door, in the streets, on the office buildings, and even on trees is a common sight in China during the New Year. A decoration piece used in all the major Chinese festivals, hanging a red lantern in front of the door is believed to drive off bad luck. Choose decking up your house with bright-red lanterns embellished in glittery gold details to be a part of the festivities.

 

Adorn Doors and Furniture with Upside-Down Fu Characters

TP 201902 interior 04

Paper cuttings engraved with the upside-down Fu characters are similar to New Year couplets. These calligraphic hanging items are available in diamond shaped paper cuttings with the deliberately inverted Chinese character 绂 (f煤 /foo/) etched on them. Fu means 'good fortune', and by pasting the upside-down character, it means inviting 'prosperity and happiness' to one's home. Chinese people paste these decoration items on the main doors, and even on furniture for happiness and fortune.

 

Set Up a Kumquat Tree Inside the House

TP 201902 interior 05

Kumquat trees are a symbol of good luck and considered sacred, both in the Cantonese and Mandarin communities. Having a Kumquat tree inside your house symbolises a wish for both wealth and good luck. Devote some space to this decorating magnificence and deck it up with red and gold accents or couplets. Get a bonsai or a full-size tree and place it near the doorway, or in the middle of your living room, for the guests to see this spring-signalling flora.

 

Decorate Your Home with Vibrant Blooming Flowers

TP 201902 interior 06

The Chinese New Year marks the onset of the spring season, so it is not uncommon to see flower decorations in the Chinese household during this time of year. Blooming flowers symbolise the wish for a prosperous new year. So going with the idea of the occasion, you too decorate your home space with an assortment of traditionally used flowers during this time. Gather branches of peonies, plum blossoms, orchids, and peach blossoms, arrange them in different types of vases and place them in every room.

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