Watch Cooking Channel

Chinese New Year Gifts

Fruit such as kumquats, oranges, pomelo and mandarin orange symbolize happiness, good fortune and good health.

Part of the Chinese New Year tradition is the act of graciously giving and graciously receiving.  I remember making the rounds as a kid in Hong Kong – my parents would present baskets of fruit, a special dish or a bottle of wine; and all the kids got Red Envelopes or “hong bow.” If you’re invited to someone’s house to celebrate Chinese New Year, there are certain gifts that symbolize wonderful things — and then there are the no-no’s.

Good Gifts:

  • Red Envelopes: Children (and in our tradition, children also means any unmarried person) get Red Envelopes, pronounced hoong bow (red pouch). Another way to say red envelopes is lai see. Inside the red envelope is money, and it can be as little as $2 to whatever bill denomination you want. But try to keep the dollar amount an even number – happiness comes in pairs! Odd numbers are for funerals. Try to get crisp new bills from the bank. How much to give? It’s just a nice tradition and gesture, so you really don’t have to go crazy (edit from my kids “unless you’re my grandparents, then go ahead and stuff the envelopes fat!”…heeheehee!)
  • A bottle of wine or spirits
  • Fruit such as kumquats, oranges, pomelo and mandarin oranges (with leaves attached is good!) symbolize happiness, good fortune, good health
  • Blossoming flowers, especially plum blossoms and chrysanthemums (both symbolize prosperity)
  • Live chickens. Okay, this was in the olden days. I think we can scratch this one off
  • Food and sweets – like pastries, cookies, candy, chocolates
  • Round candy tray – filled with sweets and seeds

Chinese New Year Superstitions
In addition to food…there are some traditions that are important to welcome in the new year.

  • Clean your house to rid of bad luck! But please make sure you do this BEFORE the first day of Chinese New Year. You don’t want to clean on February 3 as that would mean sweeping or dusting away your good fortune. On New Year’s eve, open up all your windows to expel the bad and old!
  • Wearing new clothes: Wearing new clothes on Chinese New Year is something I’ve done since I can remember! This symbolizes having more than enough for the new year. You want to try to look as fresh and new as possible. However, do NOT wash your hair on New Year’s day – it would mean washing away good luck! Wear bright red (happiness & joy) or gold (prosperity)
  • Blooming Flowers: Fill your house with beautiful blooming flowers and plants, especially plum blossoms and chrysanthemums (both symbolize prosperity), pussy willows, bamboo, pine (longevity), peony.  Flowers and plants represent new growth and a blossoming new year
  • No fighting, kids: Your temperment on Chinese New Year will set the tone for the rest of the year! So no complaining, swearing, fighting…banish bad thoughts!
  • Firecrackers: Are meant to scare off the bad spirits
  • Color Red: Colorful bright vivid red scares off bad spirits and demons too! Red also symbolizes virtue, joy and happiness
  • Dragon Dance: Ushers in the New Year bringing good luck
  • Do not say the number “four” – which symbolizes death in Chinese

Books For Kids
These are all books that we own, and I’ve listed them in the order of our favorite first!

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds ($14.28)  Filled with delectable recipes, hands-on family activities, and traditional tales to read aloud, this extraordinary collection will inspire families everywhere to re-create the magic of Chinese holidays in their own homes. They can feast on golden New Year’s dumplings and tasty moon cakes, build a miniature boat for the Dragon Boat Festival and a kite at Qing Ming, or share the story of the greedy Kitchen God or the valiant warrior Hou Yi.

I love that this book has recipes! Nina Simonds is a very well respected cookbook author, and she’s a specialist in Chinese cuisine.

Chinese Feasts & Festivals: A Cookbook by S.C. Moey ($18.21)  The rich culinary tradition of China is largely inspired by a calendar year filled with joyous occasions for eating, drinking and making merry. Food, fittingly enough, plays a leading role in everything from festivals to reunions and weddings to anniversaries. Author S.C. Moey assembles facts and fancies along with a collection of festival specialties that every Chinese food lover will read and enjoy.

Beautiful hand-illustrated book with authentic Chinese recipes for many different Chinese festivals, such as The Dragon Boat Festival, Mooncake Festival and of course Chinese New Year. Gorgeous book and definitely worth every penny.

China: DK Eyewitness Books by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore ($10.87)  China investigates the present-day culture of the most populous country on the planet, and Oil takes a look at the controversial substance responsible for the beginning-and, if we’re not careful, the end of life as we know it today. Includes clip-art CD and wall poster.

You’ll learn much more than about Chinese New Year in this beautifully photographed book. Highly recommended and great for all ages -Jaden

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift the Flap Book by Joan Holub ($6.99)  It’s Chinese New Year and there are so many fun things to do! Shopping at the outdoor market for fresh flowers, eating New Year’s dinner with the whole family, receiving red envelopes from Grandma and Grandpa, and best of all-watching the spectacular Chinese New Year’s parade! Introduce the customs of Chinese New Year to even the youngest readers with this festive new lift-the-flap book.

Celebrating Chinese New Year by  Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith ($6.95).  The authors have done a stellar job of bringing readers into a holiday celebration. Beginning with the pre-New Year preparations, children follow 10-year-old Ryan Leong and his family as they celebrate the Chinese New Year in San Francisco. Through big, bright photographs and a clear, easy-to-follow text, readers see the preparations and festivities and learn about the history and traditions. — School Library Journal

The Dancing Dragon by Marcia K. Vaughan.  In rhymed couplets, a Chinese-American child describes the excitement, preparation, and festivities of the Chinese New Year, culminating in a parade that includes a magnificent dragon carried aloft on sticks. The format of the book is foldout cardboard; for best effect, after reading it aloud, stand it on a table to show the eight-page panorama of this fine, fierce creature and the appreciative throng of celebrators in the streets of Chinatown. — School Library Journal

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn. It’s Chinese New Year in Chinatown, and young Sam has four dollars of New Year money burning a hole in his pocket. As he and his mother are milling through the crowded streets–alive with firecrackers, lion dances, and shoppers–Sam accidentally steps on the foot of a homeless man who is buried in a pile of red paper. Flustered, Sam hurries back to his mother, and is soon distracted by the char siu bao and other sweets he might buy with his gift money. When he sees fish-tail cookies that remind him of toes, he remembers the old man again, and Sam starts to think of his “lucky money” in a new light. — Amazon.com

More Resources for Chinese New Year

Jaden Hair is a television chef, food columnist and award-winning food blogger at Steamy Kitchen. You can watch her cook twice a month on Daytime Show, syndicated in 120 markets. Jaden is a food columnist for Discovery Health, TLC and for Tampa Tribune. Jaden is a cookbook author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. With over 85,000 followers, Jaden is one of the most influential people in food on Twitter. Find out more about Jaden here.

Tags:

Comments (2222)

  1. make real money online posted 02/19/2013

    Title…

    […]we prefer to honor lots of other world-wide-web web pages on the internet, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages really worth checking out[…]…

  2. niche research posted 02/19/2013

    Online Article……

    […]The info mentioned in the article are useful […]……

  3. laser toenail fungus removal posted 02/20/2013

    Websites worth visiting…

    […]here are few links to websites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[…]……

  4. Hot pics posted 02/20/2013

    Title…

    […]please pay a visit to the sites we comply with, such as this one, because it represents our picks in the web[…]…

  5. long tail SEO posted 02/20/2013

    Sources…

    […]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]……

  6. debt consolidation australia posted 02/20/2013

    Superb website…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]……

  7. budget help australia posted 02/20/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]……

  8. hair salons in Bloomington IN posted 02/21/2013

    Title…

    […]here are some hyperlinks to websites that we link to since we believe they’re really worth visiting[…]…

  9. Foxy bingo bonus posted 02/21/2013

    Superb website…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]……

  10. villas koh samui posted 02/21/2013

    Sites we Like……

    […] Every once in a while we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we choose […]……

  11. San Diego Bathroom Remodel posted 02/21/2013

    San Diego Bathroom Remodel…

    […]we like to honor quite a few other web internet sites on the internet, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Underneath are some webpages really worth checking out[…]…

  12. Home Made Energy posted 02/21/2013

    Superb website…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]……

  13. Motorcycle Tent Trailer posted 02/21/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    […]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[…]……

  14. cheap car insurance quote posted 02/21/2013

    Title…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not associated to ours, we feel they’re actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]…

  15. custom computers posted 02/22/2013

    custom computers…

    […]very couple of internet sites that transpire to become in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly really worth checking out[…]…

  16. Buy flats in Hyderabad posted 02/22/2013

    Online Article……

    […]The information mentioned in the article are some of the best available […]……

  17. Vizio E470i-A0 Review posted 02/22/2013

    Recent Blogroll Additions……

    […]usually posts some very interesting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]……

  18. VigRX Plus posted 02/22/2013

    Title…

    […]very few internet sites that come about to become detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well really worth checking out[…]…

  19. Title…

    […]the time to read or stop by the content material or web pages we have linked to below the[…]…

  20. yepi games posted 02/23/2013

    Title…

    […]although internet sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they may be essentially worth a go by way of, so have a look[…]…

  21. Title…

    […]please go to the web sites we adhere to, such as this one, as it represents our picks through the web[…]…

  22. You should check this out…

    […] Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated data, nevertheless really worth taking a look, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got more problerms as well […]……

  23. Nutrition posted 02/23/2013

    Title…

    […]just beneath, are a lot of totally not associated web sites to ours, nonetheless, they’re surely worth going over[…]…

  24. more info here posted 02/23/2013

    Title…

    […]Here is a superb Blog You might Find Intriguing that we Encourage You[…]…

  25. self improvement posted 02/24/2013

    Bored at work…

    I like to browse around the online world, often I will just go to Digg and read and check stuff out…

  26. Google Places posted 02/24/2013

    Cool sites…

    […]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[…]……

  27. gay chat posted 02/24/2013

    Title…

    […]we came across a cool website which you may well take pleasure in. Take a look in case you want[…]…

  28. colonie de vacances posted 02/24/2013

    Title…

    […]Every as soon as inside a though we pick blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest web-sites that we choose […]…

  29. house inspection adelaide posted 02/25/2013

    Blogs ou should be reading…

    […]Here is a nice website You could Find Interesting that we Encourage You to visit[…]……

  30. Kratom crushed leaf posted 02/25/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    […]Here are some of the sites we recommend for our visitors[…]……

  31. circuit designer posted 02/25/2013

    Gems form the internet…

    […]very few websites that happen to be detailed below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[…]……

  32. united posted 02/25/2013

    Title…

    […]that could be the end of this write-up. Here you’ll come across some web pages that we think you will value, just click the links over[…]…

  33. Motorcycle Trailers posted 02/25/2013

    Superb website…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]……

  34. aion guide posted 02/25/2013

    Title…

    […]one of our guests lately encouraged the following website[…]…

  35. trace ip posted 02/25/2013

    trace ip…

    […]although web sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they are basically really worth a go by, so have a look[…]…

  36. Chat posted 02/26/2013

    Going Beyond what is Expected…

    Fantastic web site. Plenty of useful information here. I am sending it to a few pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks for your sweat!…

  37. Stay at Home Income posted 02/26/2013

    Title…

    […]one of our visitors lately proposed the following website[…]…

  38. trace email sender posted 02/26/2013

    trace email sender…

    […]we like to honor lots of other world wide web web sites on the net, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages really worth checking out[…]…

  39. online marketing posted 02/26/2013

    Websites we think you should visit…

    […]although websites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they are actually worth a go through, so have a look[…]……

  40. subconscious mind posted 02/26/2013

    subconscious mind…

    […]below you will locate the link to some web-sites that we consider you must visit[…]…

  41. Total Wellness Cleanse review posted 02/26/2013

    Blogs ou should be reading…

    […]Here is a Great Blog You Might Find Interesting that we Encourage You[…]……

  42. supervisor training posted 02/26/2013

    Recommeneded websites…

    […]Here are few of the blogs we recommend to our visitors[…]……

  43. koh samui villas posted 02/27/2013

    Tumblr article…

    I saw someone writing about this on Tumblr and it linked to…

  44. jaket satuan posted 02/27/2013

    Title…

    […]below you will locate the link to some internet sites that we think you must visit[…]…

  45. gong posted 02/27/2013

    Title…

    […]just beneath, are many totally not connected web pages to ours, nevertheless, they’re surely really worth going over[…]…

  46. where to go in singapore posted 02/27/2013

    Sources…

    […]check below, are some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[…]……

  47. Complete Currency trader posted 02/27/2013

    Title…

    […]that could be the finish of this post. Here you will uncover some web pages that we believe you’ll appreciate, just click the links over[…]…

  48. Psoriasis treatment posted 02/27/2013

    Superb website…

    […]always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from[…]……

  49. Mobile Website Development posted 02/27/2013

    Title…

    […]we like to honor a lot of other internet sites on the internet, even though they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages really worth checking out[…]…

  50. Kale Harbir posted 02/27/2013

    Awesome website…

    […]the time to read or visit the content or sites we have linked to below the[…]……

Post a New Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

c