Dazzling and glittering Chinese New Year Decorations never fail to capture the magic and energy of this fabulous season.
Just like in the West at Christmas time, as Chinese New Year approaches, homes, businesses, shopping centers, offices, shops, airports, train stations... are dressed in their holiday best.
A sea of red and gold, bright lanterns and auspicious plants and flowers are the hallmarks of the season, heralding
the arrival of
the largest and most important festival of the year.
So how do Chinese "Deck the Halls?" What are the typical ornaments for the Spring Festival?
- Instead of shiny red Christmas balls we have shiny red lanterns...
- Orange and mandarin trees replace the Christmas tree...
- Wreaths and garlands become banners with messages of good fortune and prosperity...
- No boughs of holly, nor red berries... Try plum and cherry blossoms instead!
These are some of the traditional decorations used during the season which also carry some symbolic meaning. We also give you some ideas for easy to make at home ornaments and crafts for Chinese New Year that will add the festive touches to your home, classroom or office.
Bright Red Lanterns
Bright red lanterns are perhaps the most popular way to add that spark to the celebrations. You see them popping up everywhere around town, the temples, the stores, homes, parks...
Chinese lanterns come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors, although for Chinese New Year, the traditional red and gold balloon lantern is one of the most popular ones.
The red Chinese Lantern has become a symbol of Chinese Culture. To Chinese, it represents vitality and prosperity, you see them hanging year-round in Chinatowns around the world.
Banners and Scrolls with New Year's Greetings and Messages of Good Fortune
Red and gold banners with New Year messages of good luck adorn all all entrances offering a warm welcome and wishes of prosperity and good fortune for the upcoming year. And accordingly, you could decorate the entrance to your room, or put them up in the living room or near your main door as well as the entrance of your school or classroom.
Red and Gold are lucky colors for the Chinese, red symbolizes vitality of life and happiness, gold represents wealth and prosperity.
- Instructions to make your own New Year Banners including some of the most popular good luck sayings for the Chinese New Year and how to write them stroke by stroke
- Shop for Chinese New Year Red Banners and Couplets
Rather than garlands and wreaths, you will see firecrackers made out of bright shiny paper hanging alongside door entrances, adorning walls and out at the park and plazas.
They add to the lively atmosphere of the festivities since they represent the loud, happy, cracking noises of the season.
According to the traditions, firecrackers (of the real kind), are lit in front of houses and stores so that the evil spirits are scared away.
- Make your own Chinese New Year paper firecrackers
- Shop for Colorful Decorative Strings of Firecrackers
More Chinese New Year Decorations, Ornaments and Symbols
Chinese Gold Ingot: Yuanbao or Sycee
These boat-shaped gold ingots make shiny ornaments. They were traditionally made of silver or gold and used as money in Ancient China and therefore represent wealth and prosperity.
Chinese Knots are hung during the holidays or given as good-luck charms to your loved ones. They protect from evil spirits and particularly the intricate "endless knots" are a sign of an "endless" life or longevity.
Coins are of course associated with wealth and prosperity. You will typically see the ancient coin with the square hole in the middle used as decorative tokens. Also popular are charms with three coins tied with red string for good luck.
Decorating with Plants, Fruits and Flowers for Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a celebration marking the end of the winter season and the beginning of spring. This is why decorating with plants, fruits and blooming flowers carries special significance. They represent the earth coming back to life and wishes for prosperous new beginnings.
A flower that blooms on New Year's day is particularly "lucky".
In the West, we decorate for the holidays with wreaths, greens, holly, poinsettias, mistletoe, red berries and of course the Christmas tree. Likewise, there are many traditional plants and flowers which are used for decorating during the Chinese holidays.
These are some of the most popular and their special meanings:
Oranges, Kumquat, Mandarin Oranges
Mandarin and Orange trees as well as kumquat plants are more than decoration, they are a symbol of good fortune, wealth and prosperity.
They make great gifts and you see them many times decorated with shiny red ornaments, red envelopes and messages of good fortune.
The fruits are also some of the "lucky" foods, which are a must during the celebrations. Here is more on the traditional
Chinese New Year foods.
Chinese love their "Lucky Bamboo" plants and you will see them often in their homes and offices. Certainly during the holiday period, this plant is a must.
Bamboo plants and stems are used frequently in fengshui and are associated with health, resilience, abundance and a happy home.
Bamboo is considered a magnet for positive Chi energy.
They are easy to care for and make great presents.
Branches of Cherry or Plum Blossoms
The beautiful and delicate long stalks covered with the fragile pink-hued buds make fantastic decorations.
Branches are used as is, or often decorated with gold and red ornaments or red envelopes.
The cherry and plum blossoms have a special significance to the Chinese. The trees are the first to bloom even as snow is melting after a harsh winter.
They represent the promise of spring and a renewal of life.
Orchids are loved for their beauty and fragrance and are a symbol of nobility.
During the season preceding the new year it is a joy to walk through the Chinese New Year Flower markets which are breeming with these favorite blooms.
Peonies represent prosperity and peace and are considered China's national flower, they are often a subject of classical paintings.
The peony is also known as the "king of flowers" and represents royalty, virtue and honor.
These stunning blossoms are always front and center in many Chinese holidays and celebrations. Its name in Chinese is literally translated as "most beautiful"
Narcissus also known as Daffodils, bloom right around Chinese New Year and are considered a symbol of luck and wealth.
Their sweet fragrance is also highly revered in Chinese culture.
More Chinese New Year Traditions and Celebrations
filling each day with peak of health...
abundance of happiness...
and Zen like serenity...
You can decorate easily with traditional or battery-operated lanterns, paper cuttings, lucky coins and banners to add a splash to the celebrations!
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