Chinese New Year falls this Friday, February 16, and to maximise your luck in the Year of the Dog, here are eight decorations believed to attract prosperity, health, and good luck for the upcoming year.
1. Big splash of red
Chinese New Year is not complete without having all things in the colour red, be it the red money packets known as ang pao or new clothes worn during the day. For the Chinese, red symbolises the celebration of life and living things, which is why Chinese try to incorporate as much of red as possible in their décor.
2. Hang red lanterns
Red Chinese lanterns are a must-have at every Chinese New Year celebration, as well as important festivals such as the Spring Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Lanterns are hung on trees lining the streets, office building foyers, mall atriums, and house doors. Red lanterns are super-popular during Chinese New Year celebrations because they are thought to drive away bad luck.
3. Paper Cuttings for luck and happiness
The tradition during Chinese New Year is to put up red-coloured paper cuttings on doors and windows. These cuttings should be glued to a contrasting background or a transparent surface. The favourite paper cuttings bear the shape of objects and Chinese characters thought to bring good luck. For example, orange symbolises abundance and happiness; orchids, fertility and abundance; peonies, richness and peace; while a magpie atop of a branch of a plum tree indicates that a lucky chance will befall on a person.
4. Fruit-bearing, potted trees
The Mandarin word for kumquat is jīn jú shù (金桔树), in which jīn is the Chinese word for gold. The word jú also sounds like the Chinese word for good luck. Having a kumquat tree or potted shrubs at home represents a wish for wealth and good fortune. Keeping a fruit-bearing, lucky tree makes good indoor decoration as well.
Leave a mixed pile of chocolate coins wrapped in gold-coloured paper, mandarin oranges with their green stems intact, and kumquats on your table on at home. Having a pile of these bright and gold-coloured goodies symbolises prosperity and wealth for the year.
6. Blooming bouquets
A fresh flower bouquet represents spring better than any other decoration. Flowers that blossom on the first day of the Chinese New Year, such as the chrysanthemum, are considered to bring luck. Chrysanthemums represent longevity, with those sporting gold blooms representing wealth and prosperity. Flamingo lily, peace lily, Phalaenopsis, and pussy willow are also considered as lucky plants that symbolise prosperity, beside being portents of good luck.
7. Square plates and round tea cups
Circles and squares carry deep meaning in Chinese tradition. Based on old Chinese belief, a circle symbolises heaven and a square symbolises the earth. Coincidentally, all Chinese characters are drawn within a square grid.
8. Hang an upside-down Fú Character to make your luck ‘pour out’
The Chinese character fú (福) is a pictogram for a jar. So people would have calligraphy of the character drawn upside down on a diamond-shaped parchment paper to symbolise good fortune pouring down on everyone who comes through the door.