What Most Westerners Miss Out On At Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Lantern


Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in the Chinese-speaking world. It happens each at the beginning of Lunar Calendar. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, if you’re in Asia, the world stops for Chinese New Year.

Here are 5 things that make Chinese Year an Awesome Holiday to celebrate.

1. The Gifts

Just like Christmas, people give gifts during Chinese New Year. But Chinese New Year gifts are way better. Remember wasting all the time and heartache searching for the ‘perfect’ gift for people? Chinese New Year beautifully eliminates this! Why? Because everyone just gives money inside ‘hóngbāo’ or ‘red envelopes’ instead. Gifts become a stress-less no-brainer.

Show me the money, and I’ll get what I want with it!

2. Chinese New Year Company Perks

Close to the end of the year, each salaried employee will go to their company’s ‘wěiyá’ or ‘company dinner party.’ It’s usually a time of drinking with people you’ve never talked to at work, expensive company raffled presents, 2-3 month company bonuses, and one fantastic Chinese meal in an expensive restaurant! Not bad.

It’s also the time for disgruntled employees to enjoy one last company hurrah before returning home that evening to tender their resignation. For many it’s like the greatest company send off from the job they hated for most of the year!

3. The Atmosphere Rocks!

If you live in Asia, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Fireworks exploding, red everywhere, loads of tasty treats from street vendors, red envelopes, family, discounts galore, and plenty of the ‘Gōngxǐ Gōngxǐ Song!’ (Pretty cheesy but I love it!)

On the 15th day, there’s also the ‘Lantern Festival’ which displays some incredible artwork and ability from designers. People venture to parks to soak up and view the beautiful lantern displays. It’s an unforgettable atmosphere!

Atmosphere at Chinese New Year

4. The Food

Chinese culture has had 5,000 years to perfect its cooking. And boy does it show!

The traditional food is dumplings during Chinese New Year but depending where you live; it’s a chance to sample incredible food as local as it gets! Taiwan, in particular, has the most delicious seafood dishes, and the prawns are juicy exquisite. Here’s my all-time favourite Chinese dish – 鳳梨蝦球 (Pineapple Fried Shrimp).

Pineapple Shrimp

The sheer volume of dishes and variety depending on the region is truly mind-boggling. Think of Thanksgiving lasting for a week, and that’s the Chinese New Year experience.

5. Mahjong

It’s a fantastic time to hang out with old friends and family and play this tile placing game. Players usually play mahjong late into the night, where players play for fun or do light to heavy gambling.

It’s a great opportunity to hang out with locals, laugh, and enjoy more local food as you play!

So, have you celebrated Chinese New Year? Leave your comments below.

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