How to Enjoy Chinese New Year Abroad

Lion dance at Victoria Street Melbourne

Lion Dance at Victoria Street Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival

If you’re used to having a big Chinese New Year celebration back in your home country, then celebrating this festive season in a Western country could feel pretty different.

Whether you like it or not – celebrating Chinese New Year in another country would never be exactly the same as compared to how you are used to. However, with a little effort, I am sure you’ll be able to bring out the festive joy this Chinese New Year season. So wherever you are, I’d like to wish you Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

Here are my tips on how to enjoy Chinese New Year abroad:

1) Buy lots of Chinese New Year cookies

Yes, forget about your waistline for once! Go and spoil yourself with the whole cookies collection – pineapple tarts, peanut cookies, butter cookies, almond cookies and whatever you can think of! If you can find something that reminds you about your Chinese New Year celebration back in your home country, get it and munch on it especially during Chinese New Year week.

2) Cook Chinese New Year dishes

Well, if you don’t like to cook – at least treat yourself to a nice Chinese New Year banquet in the restaurant if you can afford it. If not, there are a lot of short-cut methods such as ready-made sauces that you can use to prepare simple Chinese New Year dishes. Always strive for the traditional dishes that signify Chinese New Year like cooking with pork, prawns, fish and pineapple.

3) Decorate your house with Chinese New Year fancies

Use Chinese New Year ang paus (red packets) to make decorations or simply paste them over the wall into desired shapes. If you can, you could also decorate your house with store-bought pineapple paper decorations or lanterns. These decorations are easily available in your local Chinatown.

4) Have a cook-out with your friends and family

What better way to celebrate this festive season than celebrating it with friends and family? Have a cook-out with them. Go crazy and brainstorm what Chinese New Year dishes to cook on the day and plan who cooks what dish! Then you’ll end up with a complete feast for the big day.

5) Take the day off from work

If it’s not a public holiday where you are, make sure to take the day off during Chinese New Year – at least for the first two days of the season so that you can really ‘feel’ this festive season. It’s no use going to work and coming home late at night because before you know it, the season’s over!

6) Clean the house

It’s always a common tradition to clean the house before Chinese New Year. So whether you are back in your home country or abroad – make sure to clean your house to usher in the New Year!

7) Listen to Chinese New Year songs

While you’re at home, try listening to Chinese New Year songs. Just listening to them would help you to soak in this momentous season.

8) Go to Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown

If you have a Chinatown at the place where you live, then make a point to go for the Chinese New Year celebration there. The celebration usually includes the significant ‘lion dance’ which would remind you of celebrating in your home country.

9) Call your family on Chinese New Year day

Don’t forget your family back home. Call them on Chinese New Year day to wish them a good New Year ahead. They would be so happy to hear from you!

10) Buy new clothes

It’s a common tradition to buy new clothes for Chinese New Year. So why not keep up the tradition and go shopping? After all, it’s a valid excuse to go shopping! And don’t forget to wear your new clothes on Chinese New Year day.

Hope you’ve been entertained with these simple tips on how to enjoy Chinese New Year abroad.

Caroline Poh

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