Gung hei fat choy lovelies! For those of you who don’t know, this upcoming Monday (January 23rd) is the Chinese (or Lunar) New Year! 2012 is the year of the Dragon, which symbolizes intensity, enthusiasm, & enthusiasm! How does that sound? Read on for some tips on bringing in the new year with style (and don’t forget to check out your horoscope for the year!)
Out n About
(Unfortunately I can only recommend places and things to do about the Chicago/Chicago-land area, sorry! If you do live in a big city, look for a local Chinatown area for some Chinese New Year festivities.)
- Chinese New Year Parade is on the 29th of January. It will be taking place along Wentworth from 24th Street to Cermak Road. Go and check out the amazing lion & dragon dancing!
- The Chinese New Year was traditionally celebrated over 15 days! While most of us may not be able to take that much time off of work to celebrate, most chinese/asian themed restaurants introduce a special 15 day menu for the new year! Specials from two of my favorite places include:
- Big Bowl Specials:
Shrimp & Chive Dumplings, Cantonese-styled lobster, almond cookies & spicy peanuts.
- Koi Specials:
Lychee Chicken, Beef with Bamboo shoots, seafood pan-fried noodles, Szechuan won tons, & Dragon Maki sushi rolls will be over half off!
- Look at local colleges to find out if they have any special activities that day (many are open to outsiders as well as students). Also, the Vietnamese Association of Illinois will host a Tet Festival Saturday Jan. 28 from 11am-5pm with demonstrations, games and food.
- Try some local asian themed cooking classes or demonstrations!
- The Big Bowl locations on the Goldcoast & Lincolnshire will be offering FREE (!!!) dumpling making classes! Saturday the 21st at 9:30 am the Goldcoast & Lincolnshire locations. Cool, non?
- The Wooden Spoon offers a myriad of different cooking classes as well. Look through their class schedule for some asian inspired ones and sign yourself up!
What to Wear
- Red Dresses! Wearing red symbolizes happiness and sets the tone for the new year.
- If you’re any good at nail art, check out this youtube video for Dragon Nails! Another thing to try would be replicating the look of scales (maybe in a pretty jade color) or shiny black polish with gold sparkles.
- How about some geisha inspired shoes (ala McQueen)? Or maybe some ones inspired by silk slippers and watercolor paintings, or perhaps even anime/manga inspired ones?
- Do you remember the late 90′s when EVERYONE wore chopsticks in their hair? Bet you never thought you’d get to use those again, but now would be perfect! Another good choice would be some beautiful floral hairpins, as they originated in ancient Asia.
What to Cook
You can find tons of awesome cooking lessons via Youtube! Try looking up a few of your favorite chinese dishes for a quick, free lesson. Here’s a roundup of my favorite Chinese and Asian dishes.
If you can help it, make sure you don’t cut or break the noodles! Uncut noodles symbolize long life on the Chinese New Year!
(oranges symbolize luck and wealth, don’t pretend you can’t use more of that!)
What to Do
- Throw a party! Have everyone dress up in the style of their zodiac sign. Serve dim sum dishes such as sushi and won tons. Try and get ahold of some chinese booze (sometime Liquor Stores have an imports section)
- Hand out oranges to everyone to wish them good look!
- Clean entire house prior to new years (Don’t sweep or dust on New Years day because you could be sweeping good fortune away!)
- Feng Shui a room (or all of them if you’re feeling ambitious!)
- Make origami things! How about some lucky stars or cranes? You can hang them from your ceiling when you’re done!
- Superstition & Traditions surrounding the Chinese New Year
- Your COMPLETE Chinese Horoscope! Yes! There’s more to it than the year! Also check out your more advanced reading for the Year of the Water Dragon.
Do you plan on having a Chinese New Year celebration?