Year of the Rooster: How To Celebrate Chinese New Year

27 January 2017
Read Time: 2.9 mins

Tomorrow is Chinese Lunar New Year and a most auspicious day, especially for Roosters with a 12th, 24th, 36th, 48th, 60th or 72nd (and so forth) birthday in 2017. While this colourful and clamorous celebration is certainly most spectacular in countries such as China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, or cities with a large Chinese community (San Francisco, New York, Vancouver or Sydney), often with week-long festivities, there’s plenty of ways to capture that Lunar New Year good fortune wherever you are. Here’s how and where to attain double happiness for a prosperous 2017.

Lucky money (Image: Getty)

Give (Or Receive) Hong Bao

Hong bao (or lai see in Cantonese) are the decorative red envelopes filled with money that Asian parents gift their unmarried children for good luck in the coming year. You can stock up on red envelopes at Chinatowns around the world, or download a red envelope app for exchanging virtual cash.

Dim sum is always a good idea. (Image: Getty)

Eat Auspicious Foods

In Chinese languages, some foods are considered lucky as they sound like aspirational words. At Chinese New Year, fish (which sounds like the Chinese word for ‘surplus’), dumplings, spring rolls and glutinous rice cakes are delicious choices to bring a bounty of good fortune in the coming year.

Baby, you're a firework! (Image: Getty)

Set Off Firecrackers

It just wouldn’t be Chinese New Year without the crack and sizzle of red firecrackers being lit. While Hong Kong turns on a fireworks spectacular on both sides of Victoria Harbour and Beijing also lights up the sky, it’s tradition to set off noisy firecrackers at the stroke of midnight to sound in the Lunar New Year.

Serenity and good luck in motion in Taipei. (Image: Getty)

Release Paper Lanterns

At the Taipei Lantern Festival, paper lanterns are released into the night sky as a symbolic, graceful and Instagram-worthy way to herald Lunar New Year. It’s customary to write your New Year wishes on the lanterns before surrendering your hopes and dreams to the sky.

Say it with flowers at the Hong Kong New Year flower markets. (Image: Getty)

Feng Shui Your Home

While cleaning on the first and second days of Chinese New Year is a no-no to avoid sweeping away good luck, there are other ways to bring good fortune to your home. In Hong Kong, locals visit traditional flower markets for blooming good luck, and Taiwanese homes adorn their hearth with plum blossoms and cumquat fruit for prosperity.

It's a lion dance party in San Francisco's Chinatown. (Image: Getty)

Join The Parade

Lion dancing, martial arts and floats – oh my! In cities with significant Chinese communities around the world, Lunar New Year parades bring all the pageantry and noise to the streets. San Francisco is said to have the largest Chinese New Year parade outside Asia, complete with a Miss Chinatown USA, while Sydney has the Dragon Boat Races in Cockle Bay.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.