Celebrate Chinese New Year 2019!

Chinese New Year 2019 – the Year of the Pig — starts on February 5 and runs until February 19 (but actually started in mid-January). The dates change every year – in accord with the Lunar calendar — and the occasion is also referred to as the Spring Festival in modern China, when families honor their ancestors, their homes, heavenly deities and feast upon traditional foods and dishes.

The weeks before Chinese New Year are spent cleaning – sweeping, mopping wiping, washing to make sure the whole house is rid of the old year’s dust and ready to receive the good fortune of the New Year. The Chinese New Year is celebrated with parades and red street decorations, lanterns and streamers, Chinese knots, Spring Festival couplets, and paper cut-outs. Homes are also decorated with calligraphy, poetry, plants and food to invite happiness, good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

Let the Celebrations Begin!

The festivities begin on New Year’s Eve with a focus on family – much like Westerner’s Christmas. A kind of family reunion dinner kicks things off with all the essentials of a Chinese menu: steamed or braised whole fish, plus various other meats, seafood and vegetables which are made into dishes with auspicious meanings. You can plan your own family reunion dinner with a few of these traditional recipes from Maggie’s Omnivore’s Cookbook, or add one side disk, like easy pork dumplings from All Recipes.

Red envelopes filled with “lucky money” are an iconic simple of the Chinese New Year. From newborn babies to teenagers, these red packets are exchanged to express giving and receiving good will to build relationships between family and friends. 

Year of the Pig

In China, each year is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The animal sign of the year is thought to influence the character and destiny of people born in the year. People born in the years 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 and 2007 are thought to be kind, peaceful, resilient and generous (according to Feng Shui Web). Find out which  Chinese zodiac animal you are, and your corresponding fortune prediction for the New Year!

Crafts for the Kids

Good luck banners are hung around the home to declare a family’s wishes for prosperity, luck and health in the coming year. Want to learn how to write “good luck” or “blessings” in Chinese calligraphy? Here’s a tutorial for a 15-minute project to introduce your kids to this Chinese art form.

Red lanterns in Chinatown shop windows are a sure sign that the Chinese New Year is here. You can create a little cultural excitement by making a festival lantern with some red and gold paper and a little string by following these simple instructions for kids.

And here are some ideas for look-alike “firecrackers” (from Chinese American Family’s site) which Chinese children set off every year. Legend has it that there was once a lion-headed beast named Nian who would raid villages every lunar new year. But when the villagers discovered that Nian was afraid of the color red and loud noises (like clanging pots together) firecrackers became the noisemakers to scare Nian off every year. 

Watch and Learn

The most watched TV show in the world is the CCTV New Year’s Gala, a live TV program broadcast on CCTV with 700 million viewers (2018). While you’ve missed the 4.5 hour long variety show with songs, dancing, marital arts, acrobatics, magic and traditional opera and drama, you can still see it on YouTube!

The Chinese arts represented in the performances offer a glimpse of inherited traditions and culture.

Celebrate in Colliers Hill

The master-planned community of Colliers Hill welcomes the family traditions of multiple cultures. It’s 963-acre neighborhood criss-crossed with walking trails and dotted with parks is a brief commute from Denver and Boulder. Tour the stunning models available in ranch or two-story designs, from Richmond American Homes, Shea Homes and Meritage Homes, priced from the $300s.