Basic Ways to Welcome and Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 11.47.06 AMAs a Filipina married to a Filipino-Chinese, I thought it is about time I take an effort to embrace the Chinese roots of my husband by preparing our house to welcome the Chinese New Year.

In the past,  the most I would do is to buy a few round fruits and display it on the table overnight.  This year I would take it a few notches higher to cover the basic traditions to welcome the New Year with lots and lotsa good vibes.

The list below covers the very, very basic traditions to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  No zodiac matching here:-)


Prepare 8 round fruits on the table because the number 8 signifies good luck.  Some would argue on the 8 and serve 12,  choose your number:-)

Include pineapple as one of the fruits because pineapple is "onglai" in Chinese.  "Ong" means luck and "lai" means luck.  Put together it means luck to come.

Include Mandarin Oranges/Tangerine because their round shape symbolizes good luck and their golden color symbolizes wealth.

For the Chinese New Year buffet spread be sure to serve the following:

1.  Whole White Fish.  "Yu" sounds like the words for abundance that is why it should be part of the spread.  It should be served whole in order to attract good beginning and ending for the year to come.

2.  Uncut Chinese Noodles to celebrate long life.

3.  Spongy/fluffy cakes that symbolize growth.

4.  Whole Chicken.  The chicken dish represents prosperity and family unity.

5.  Tikoy.  This sticky cake signifies prosperity and improvements in life.  It also believed to symbolize unity and strong family bonds because of its sticky nature, plus it makes good luck stick to you.

Be sure to leave leftovers to ensure the whole family will have excess good luck for the whole year.

Also, prepare at least 5 dishes (rice doesn't count but veggies does) and never just 4.  My husband is strict on that because the sound of 4 is similar to the word for "death."


Prepare ang pao (Hokkien) or hong bao (Mandarin) for the kids.  These are the red envelopes you fill with crisp new bills.  Children can put their Red Envelopes under their pillow when they sleep and they say it will ward off bad dreams and they will become richer in the year to come.

I have prepared ang paos for the help and for my husband too.

You can also giveaway tikoy to friends and business associates/clients.  They say tikoy gives good luck to both the receiver and the giver .


Red symbolizes good fortune and happiness.  My friends whom I have asked still wear clothes with red during Chinese New Year.  If you firmly believe in Chinese Zodiacs however,  red is not a good color for the year of the Wooden Horse.

House Preparation:

Clean the house thoroughly before the New Year.  Make sure all areas are kept clean and dirt free.  Avoid thorough cleaning on the eve and on the day of the Chinese New Year since this might sweep good luck away.

I'm asking my kids to make their very own dragon, too:-) check out how to make your own Chinese dragon at marinmommies.

Chinese Greeting:

Greet everyone Kiong Hee Huat Tsai (Hokkien), Kung Hei Fat Choi (Cantonese) or Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin). It means "Congratulations and Be Prosperous."

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai everyone!!!:-)

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2 Chinese Filipino friends