Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is celebrated throughout the world in late January or early February. Here’s how to celebrate.
Step 1: Get the details Find the next date of Chinese New Year, which changes with the lunar cycle. Learn which of the 12 zodiac animals is associated with that year's celebration.
Step 2: Clean up Before the Chinese New Year arrives, clean your house, and settle any outstanding debts with friends. According to tradition, this helps the new year get off to a fresh start.
TIP: Clean the headstones of deceased relatives and friends to ensure spiritual favor.
Step 3: Eat up Get together with friends and family on the eve of Chinese New Year for a reunion dinner, a large, celebratory feast. Make a batch of nian gao, steamed cakes made with rice flour, which are said to bring good luck.
Step 4: Go shopping Buy new, red clothes to wear throughout the Chinese New Year celebration; the color is considered lucky.
Step 5: Give gifts Give red envelopes filled with money to friends and relatives to invite success and generosity into everyone's lives. Use an amount ending in 8, which is particularly lucky in Chinese culture, and avoid the number 4.
Step 6: March Attend a Chinese New Year parade, one of the most popular ways to celebrate the holiday's hopeful spirit. You can also light firecrackers and bang drums and gongs to celebrate.
: Only use firecrackers or fireworks under close supervision. Know the laws governing explosives where you live.
Step 7: Light up the night On the 15th night of the new year, light a red paper lantern to mark the end of the holiday. Then, wish your friends and family "Gong Xi Fa Tsai," and prepare for 12 months of prosperity and luck.
FACT: In 1980, the Chinese were the 10th-largest immigrant group in the U.S.; by 2006, they had become the third-largest.