“Here’s how you can celebrate Chinese New Year with Authenticity”
February 13rd , 2018
It’s that time of the year again, where you’ll see people exchanging money-filled red envelopes or “Hung Bao” and hear people cheerfully chanting “Gong Xi Fa Cai!”, in other words it’s Chinese New Year! Many of us love the idea of exchanging money, because we love money, however, as Americans we aren’t quite sure how to authentically celebrate Chinese New Year. In order to celebrate authentically, you must first understand the history of the custom and what is currently being done in China today to celebrate the New Year.
Hung Bao are the red envelopes often covered in gold script that contain money traditionally given by married couples to their parents, children, or young college-age adults. Hung Bao is a symbol of good fortune and blessings. Hung Bao can contain any amount of money as there are no specific requirements. Hung Bao today however, may not be given in an envelope at all as many younger, modern adults in China often utilize WeChat to exchange money virtually. So if you are in the spirit gift a child, college student, or parent with Hung Bao to begin an authentic celebration of CNY (Chinese New Year).
Decorate your home with #MeiHua (Plum Blossom). Mei Hua is a popular plant to see in the homes and public places in China in celebration of CNY (Chinese New Year) because it is one of the only flowers that blossom in the fall. Mei Hua is used in many other parts of Asia in food and medicine however, in China it is mainly used as decor because of its vibrate color. You can decorate your home with artificial Mei Hua or you can use Mei Hua paintings or banners for a somewhat artificial feel.
Lastly, commence CNY with Nian Ye Fan, or “reunion dinner”. Historically, Chinese families were spread across China, busy working and raising their families. Nian Ye Fan is held as a time of bonding and familial unity similar to that of an American Thanksgiving dinner. After you find a local lion dance to attend, come home to prepare your own reunion dinner, exchange some Hung Bao, while sitting next to your Mei Hua. That’s how you can have an authentic Chinese New Year。