Chinese New Year Party

Chinese Lion Paper Mache for Lion Dance
Celebrate Chinese New Year this year, by creating a Chinese Dragon for a Lion Dance, making paper Chinese Lanterns, creating Chinese calligraphy wall hangings, learning to write simple numbers in Chinese, and by savoring delicious Chinese foods.  To complete the festive scene, dress-up in elegant rich brocade robes and colors!
Birthday Party Ideas arrow Asian Party Supplies

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Chinese New Year Party with Kids doing a Lion Dance in Chinese costumes

Chinese New Year Party Plan

Other Asian Themes:  Asian Steamboat Dinner Party

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Chinese New Year Party Invitations

  • Postcard Invitations. Send a postcard from China to your guests inviting them to a “Day in China” and to celebrate Chinese New Year with you.
  • Pop-up Cards. Using a combination of origami and traditional paper cutting, create a unique custom pop-up card for your guests.
  • Double Happiness. The color red is considered good luck, prosperous and associated with happiness.  Create simple red invitations and stamp black chinese characters on it or hand-print them using markers. The symbol for “double happiness” is a common symbol used in invitations and can be easily reproduced by hand.  Here is an example on the mint tin:

Double Happiness Symbol Personalized Mint Tin
Double Happiness Symbol Personalized Mint Tin

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Chinese New Year Party Decorations

  • New Year Banners. Before the Chinese New Year preparations, people do house cleaning, put up decorations like lanterns, and red banners along the doorway.  The banners are inscribed with blessings and good fortune for the year to come.
  • Red Table Runner. Decorate your table with a rich brocade table runner in red.
  • Lanterns. Hang lanterns around the party room and above the party table for an instant festive decor. Lanterns can be authentic or inexpensive paper lantern purchased from the party store.  You can also make your own simple paper lanterns.
  • Chinese Tea Cups. Use Chinese tea cups for drinking juices, tea, etc. during the party.
  • Chinese Chopsticks. Purchase chopsticks for your guests to use during the party or as party favors.  Have an informal chopstick lesson to teach those who are not familiar with using chopsticks how to hold and pick up items.
  • White Narcissus Flower. Place a pot with a white Narcissus flowers in the center of the table.  This flower is the symbol of good luck and fortune, and blossoms around this time of the New Year.
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Chinese New Year Guest Arrival and Introduction

  • Festive Ambiance. Play traditional or modern Chinese music when guests arrive.  You can have a custom banner made wishing your guest a “Happy Chinese New Year” or “Happy 2009 Year of the Ox”, etc.
  • Red Packets or Hong Bao (Lai-See).Hong Bao’ literally means ‘red envelope’ in Chinese. Good Fortune Red Envelopes with money inside are given to children and young adults (unmarried) for the New Year.  The red packets are embellished with Chinese characters and decorations in gold or color. Usually lucky character symbols, wealth symbols, double happiness symbols, or plum blossom symbols are seen on the envelopes.  Oftentimes, if the envelopes are custom, you will find the last name of the family who is giving the red packets on the envelope.
  • Chinese Brocade Outfits. Give each one a robe, dress or new outfit instead of a red packet.
  • Chinese Zodiac. Get a chart with the Chinese Zodiac and teach kids what year we are celebrating and talk about the different animals in the Zodiac.  Try to figure out which animal each guest represents and read off the character traits for each.
  • Share Traditions and History. If your guests are not familiar with the celebrations of Chinese New Year, this is a great time to share a story about Chinese New Year.  There are many great books out there on this subject in libraries and bookstores.
  • Chinese Lessons. Get Chinese flash cards and tape them on walls, in the entrance, in the bathroom, place them on tables, etc. to teach people some Chinese words.  Gather a few easy Chinese words from books, DVDs, tapes, or songs and teach them to your guests. Here are a few Cantonese words:

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    Cantonese English
    Kung Hai Fat Choi! Happy New Year
    Nee Ho Mah?
    How Are You?
    Toh Che
    Thank You (when given a gift)
    M Goi
    Thank You (for a service performed)

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Chinese New Year Party Crafts

Chinese Lion Paper Mache
Chinese calligraphy craft wall hanging
Easy Chinese Paper lantern craft
Good Fortune Red Envelope as a gift for Chinese New Year Celebration

  • Chinese Paper Lanterns. These are affordable and easy to make with a small or large group of kids.  When finished kids can hang on a stick or carry as is during the Chinese Lion dance.
  • Calligraphy Wall Hanging. These are also easy to make with a large group of kids.  Kids enjoy learning to “write” numbers in Chinese and they can hang on a wall, door, or party room as decor.
  • Chinese Lion for Lion Dance. Create a Lion Head out of paper mache for a Chinese Dragon or Lion Dance!  This craft takes a longer time to complete and is best for class projects where this craft can be done over a period of time.
  • Paper Cutting. Give kids lots of paper and scissors and let them use their creativity to create animals, decorations, flowers, and figures using the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting.  Set up a few samples of display for inspiration and ideas.
  • Shadow Puppets. Create shadow puppets using black paper, glue, long sticks and hinges.  Use an old curtain in a doorway as a stage.  Shine a light in the background through to the front to create a silhouette on the other side.  Have kids come up with a skit to perform after dinner.  Tape the whole show and play back for some highlights and fun.
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Chinese New Year Party Recipes

Black Bean Pau in bamboo steamers
Chinese Spring Rolls
Steam bot or chinese hotpot
Chinese wonton for soup

Chinese New Year Party Cakes

  • Chinese Cakes. Lotus pastries, Mooncakes, and other delicious Chinese treats.
  • Chinese Desserts. Make or purchase Chinese desserts for the party.  Some dessert ideas to serve: Custard buns, Egg Tarts, Rice Crispies Treats and Sesame Fried Balls.
  • Poki Sticks. Get Poki Sticks from Asian stores and put on the party table as snacks.  Kids love them and are easy to grab and eat.  If you don’t have an asian store close by, you can make your own by dipping thin breadsticks in melted chocolate and letting it set.
  • Chinese Symbols Cupcakes. Make delicious cakes to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Cupcakes are lots of fun since you can decorate each individual morsel using your own creativity to fit the theme.  Use Chinese symbols to decorate your cupcakes for Chinese New Year.
  • Some cupcake decoration ideas:
  1. Coins (prosperity) – use mini chocolate coins.
  2. Lotus blossoms (flower is symbol of growth) – make flowers out of sugar paste.
  3. Fish (fish is the symbol for abundance) – use Swedish fish or make your own using sugar paste.
  4. Oranges (orange is symbol for wealth) – use candy or make your own using sugar paste.

Chinese New Year Party Games and Activities

  • Chopstick Contest. Get two trays.  In one tray have 10 items that guests need to transfer from one tray to the other using chopsticks.  Make sure the trays are at least 6 inches apart.  Put items that are easy to pick up as well as harder ones. Some items that you can use are: cotton balls, beads, egg, gumball, macaroni noodle (uncooked), macaroni noodle (cooked), small paper cup, piece of fish, etc.
  • Lion Dance. Get some traditional Chinese music and play the songs.  Have one person be at the front of the Lion’s head and the other guests in the back.  If there are extra kids, they can march behind the dragon with the paper lanterns made during the craft session.

Chinese New Year Party Favors

  • Chinese Bookmarks
  • Chinese Brocade Notebooks

Other Chinese Theme Party Links:

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