Coming up with great Chinese New Years party ideas that satisfy everyone can be a difficult task.
Chinese New Year tends to be a busy time for all involved, what with the rituals you have to prepare at home and then dealing with the crowds and the long waiting times for table service if you’re eating. I’ve celebrated Chinese New Year in London, New York and Berlin and it doesn’t matter where you are, the stress never changes.
Here are Chinese New Years party ideas I’ve used in the past to ensure fun for all without the hassle.
Chinese New Year Tips – Do’s and Don’ts
Chinese New Year isn’t just a time to party, it has important spiritual significance too around the areas of fortune and luck. So if you want to get involved with Chinese New Year authentically, there are certain tasks you need to complete.
Things to do before New Year’s Day
Kick off your Chinese New Years party ideas by making sure you do a massive top-down clean-up of your home. According to the Chinese, doing this sweeps away the bad luck of the old year. You also won’t get the chance to clean again until after New Year’s is over. It’s important to keep your brooms and brushes firmly locked away. during the holiday. Avoid sweeping any floors on New Year’s Day or you risk sweeping away good fortune.
On New Year’s Eve, make sure to let go of the previous year, by opening all the doors and windows of your house at midnight.
Things to do on New Year’s Day
Greet everyone you meet with ‘Gung Hey Fat Choy’, which means ‘Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth’. Try and see as many friends and family as possible to help spread good wishes for the year to come.
If you’re decorating at home, make sure you use red (means happiness), gold, and orange (wealth and happiness) in your colour choices. Cover your tabletops with oranges and tangerines.
It’s important you don’t use white anywhere! White means death – so don’t serve white food or anything with cream. So forget white table cloths, white napkins or anything white-looking. Guests mustn’t wear anything with white either, so make sure you tell them this on your invites.
Don’t wash your hair on New Year’s Day and try not to drop your chopsticks during mealtimes. You’d be inviting bad luck on yourself if you do any of theese.
Your Chinese New Years party ideas
Chinese New Year Potluck
Can’t bear the thought of long waiting times for restaurants in Chinatown?
Why not celebrate at home, with a New Year potluck, but asking everyone is to bring a well-known Chinese dish with them. These can be homemade or restaurant ordered, the more food, the better.
If your friends and guests are avid Chinese cooks, you can ask them to cook dinner on the spot (though they’ll need advance access to the kitchen). Their final dish would still makes the potluck, since no one will know what they’ll be creating initially. Make sure you and they have all the ingredients and groceries needed to cook, and preferably chopped and prepared for the day for speedy cooking.
Talking of chopsticks, for those friends who still haven’t gotten the hang of the sticks, this is a lot of fun.
To play, you’ll need a pair of chopsticks, patience and a sense of humor.
- The top chopstick: take the first chopstick and hold it as though you’re holding a pen.
- The bottom chopstick: then, insert the second chopstick underneath. It sits right on the base of your forefinger and thumb.
- Adjust the top chopstick, so your index finger and middle finger hold it, with your thumb supporting the base.
- When you move the top chopstick now, these two fingers act as a pivot.
When using chopsticks, it’s the top chopstick that moves, not the bottom one.
For a visual demonstration, please check out this instruction video :
Oh yeah – remember NOT to drop your chopsticks, when practicing. Not on the floor anyway (so a tabletop might be alright as long as no one sees).
The Chopsticks Challenge
Playing the Chopsticks Challenge is a fun Partycurrent warm-up to play before you start eating the long dinners that come with Chinese New Year. It’s a great practice for newcomers to chopsticks, but again, warn everyone not to drop their chopsticks during the game, or risk cursing you all!
You’ll need a plate, a bowl and pair of chopsticks: a timer or stopwatch; and a selection of small items, such as a pen, a lighter, a coin, candy, a bauble from a Christmas tree, etc.
- Place all the items on the plate, then the plate on the table
- Players have one minute to transfer as many items from the plate into the bowl – using only the chopsticks
- The fastest person, or the one with the most items grabbed, is the winner
- Play this game also as a 2+ person race. Each plate needs to have a set of identical items.
Chinese Ingredients game
This game is a great way for guests to stretch their legs after (or during) a meal. New Year dinners tend to be hours-long affairs, especially if held with the family, so you’ll need a digestion break.
Before playing, write down all the ingredients needed to make a particular Chinese dish. Try and choose a dish that people know. Then copy the ingredients onto slips of paper, making sure there are enough slips for one guest each. Get everyone up on their feet and stick a slip of paper onto the back of each guest. Now they must arrange themselves in the order of how the dish is made.
This makes for some fun Chinese New Years party ideas, especially when players disagree on the order! Be warned for some serious arguments!
Chinese Blindfold Food Tasting
Talking of food, why not hold a session to introduce guests to unusual Chinese ingredients or dishes. You do this be preparing small portions of your testing food in advance that can be cooked or raw. Never tasted Durian, or chickens feet in black bean sauce? Now’s your chance.
Chinese New Year Dancefloor
Know your Shirley Kwan from your Andy Lau? No? Then sprinkle your Chinese New Year activities with a playlist, made up of different Chinese sounds. Create a playlist filled with Canto Pop, Chinese opera and music from different provinces together (e.g. Yunnan, Guangxi). The best place to research music is in a music store in your nearest Chinatown, they’ll be able to advise you best.
Looking for active Chinese New Years ideas?
Round off the potluck and the chopsticks “can’t drop ‘em” stress, with a round of Tai Chi. A martial art in itself, it’s also a great tonic for meditation and rest. The best way to learn is to hire in an instructor for your Chinese New Year party or book a beginners’ class everyone can join.
If you use any of the above Chinese New Years party ideas, you’ve got something to keep your guests entertained and your nerves relieved. Chinese New Year can be a busy time, with specific rituals to observe, everything has to be perfect or you risk bad luck.