Chinese New Year's Eve is tomorrow and it wouldn't be right if I didn't devote a little party planning to ring in the lunar calendar's first day of the year! Luckily Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 whole days, so if you don't have time to throw an impromptu last minute party this weekend you can host one next week or weekend. Invite all of your friends to watch the local Chinese New Year parade (the one here in SF is March 3) and then head over to your house for a little fiesta afterwards. For the 411 on throwing this shin-dig, including invites, drinks, decorations and everything else you'll need,
Invites: Simplicity is chicness (and elegance) and make these invites simple but beautiful. On red paper hand write a message with gold ink along these lines
PartySugar Invites You To Welcome The Year Of The Pig With A Chinese New Year Celebration Dinner
If you have a pig stencil you could cut out the shape of a pig in gold foil and place it above the welcome note. On the back write the details of the event: when and where, what time and what type of dress, etc. Send the invites in pretty little red envelopes in honor of the Chinese tradition of giving money stuffed into red envelopes as New Year gifts.
Menu: The Chinese eat fish and dumplings on New Year to convey a sense of togetherness, abundance, and family. Start with YumSugar's pork and cabbage potstickers. For the main event offer Chinese style steamed fish with rice and noodles. If you're lucky enough to live near a Chinese store, you can purchase a Chinese New Year cake (or other pastries), or else you can take a stab at making Yum's westernized version: Chinese New Year Inspired cake, or else serve your favorite cake or pie from your local bakery. Buy a bunch of fortune cookies and have guests take turns reading their fortunes aloud. Sliced oranges are another customary after dinner treat. As a special party favor give guests a clear candy baggy filled with red Swedish fish candies tied with a satin ribbon when they leave.
Drinks: Shake up Chinese Cocktails for you and your guests. During dinner, a Riesling will gracefully complement the richness and spice of the Chinese food. For those who are driving mix a ginger and tonic mocktail. Don't forget to have lots of sparkling and still water on hand as well.
The Look: Red, gold, and pigs should be the underlying theme in your decorating scheme. Dress your table with a beautiful red tablecloth, gold napkins, and gold candles. Use fresh cut branches of orange or tangerine trees to create a centerpiece. Leafy orange trees symbolize the branching out of the family and good luck. Hang paper Chinese lanterns with tassels from you chandelier. Place red tulips or yellow chrysanthemums in low vases - don't use white flowers because they are affiliated with funerals in the Chinese culture. Add eye catching glinting gold details in the form of piggy banks, floating tea lights, and shiny coins.
Music: Create a playlist with music from you favorite Chinese themed movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or In The Mood For Love. During dinner play Xiao Peng Jiang's Collection of Chinese Fesitival Music. For after dinner play big-time Taiwanese popstar (Yum calls him the Asian Justin Timberlake!) Jay Chou's Common Jasmine Orange (available on iTunes).
What are you doing to celebrate Chinese New Year? Tell me about it below!