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How to Celebrate Chinese New Year Without a Ticket to China

February 3, 2014 at 10:48 AM | by | Comments (0)

This last weekend, a good majority of Asia was all a-flutter over welcoming the Year of the Horse. While the biggest of the Chinese New Year parties are over, the festivities do continue up to 15 days after the first day of the new year; that's just enough time to get your fair share of prosperity and good luck.

If you live near a major city, chances are good you're pretty close to a Chinatown district. For a little slice of Asia close to home, skip the Panda Express and head to an authentic eatery serving up some new year treats. Buddha's Delight, niangao, bak kwa, noodles and dumplings are all on the menu and many restaurants will offer large banquet meals because the "more the the merrier." No need to bring anything but an empty belly.

If you're planning to head a bit more afield, Singapore and Malaysia practice a tradition of tossing Yusheng, a raw fish salad, which brings good luck and prosperity for the new year. "Yusheng" actually translates to "prosperity toss" and is meant to be done with family and friends before it is eaten.

On the fifteenth day of celebrations comes one of the more visually pleasing tradition: the lantern festival. On this date, candles are lit and red lanterns line the streets to guide wayward spirits home. Aside from the pomp of the festival, it's usually quite the photo opportunity.

However you choose to ring in the new lunar year, keep in mind: red is the color of good luck so it will be most widely worn. Also, practice the sayings "Gong Xi Fa Cai" (Mandarin) and "Gong Hey Fat Choy" (Cantonese), which mean "be prosperous in the new year" and should elicit a few smiles and giggles.

If you're set on enjoying the holiday to the max in the coming years by actually traveling to Asia, the new year falls somewhere between January 21st and February 20th each year. Shall we plan to see you in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, or the Philippines for the Year of the Sheep in 2015?

[Photo: Jaunted]

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