How to Throw an Authentic Chinese New Year Party

On January 31, residents of Chinatowns from coast to coast – as well as Chinese populations around the world – will hit the streets in celebration of the New Year. The holiday, also known as Spring Festival, marks the first day of the year on the Chinese calendar and is a time when families gather in celebration of their ancestors and the gods alike.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll look at this as a learning opportunity – and, of course, a reason to host a party. Follow our festive advice for an authentic Year of the Horse fete. Don’t have lion dancers on speed dial? We’ll let that slide.

Chinese New Year Party Ideas

Set the table with chopsticks. Serve up homemade dumplings – boiled, not fried or steamed – with traditional Chinese dipping sauces.

Make your own Spring Festival cocktail. Head to your local Asian market and pick up a Chinese beer (Tsingtao is popular). Combine equal parts beer, prosecco, and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Deck your home in red and gold. In Chinese culture, these colors represent luck, wealth, and happiness. Hang paper lanterns or use red place cards on the table that can double as fortunes.

Set the mood. Tune into a C-pop Spotify station. That’s Chinese popular music.

Don’t forget firecrackers. If you have the luxury of outdoor space and warm weather this time of year, pick up these noisemakers. The explosions – similar to those you’ll see and hear at any Chinese New Year parade – are meant to scare off evil spirits.

Start planning with our Sunday Supper: Celebrate Chinese New Year Boutique on Sunday, January 26, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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January 26, 2014