This Friday marks the start of a new Lunar New Year, celebrated throughout East Asia but influenced primarily by the traditional Chinese calendar. This calendar is based on cycles of the moon and sun, and the beginning of the new year is acknowledged by fifteen days of celebrations, including festivals and “reunion dinners” where families get together to celebrate.
The Gregorian calendar year in the U.S. has already started off a bit…interesting…so if you’re like me and are looking to celebrate a NEW new year …look no further. I have a Chinese Lunar New Year Dinner Party for you that features the Lucky Cat. The Lucky Cat originated in Japan, but has been heavily adopted by Chinese cultures as a symbol of prosperity. And, when painted red – is supposed to ward off illness. Perfect for 2021, am I right? Read on for all the details!
Side Note: I sure miss celebrating with my stepmother, she is Vietnamese and she always cooks up a storm!! I wish I could cook as well as she does!
Create a Backdrop
First, I used white garlands to create a weave pattern on the wall, connected with flowers I made from colored foil. From the ceiling, I hung several paper lanterns. Lanterns are a huge part of a Chinese New Year celebration – in fact, the final day of the celebrations is marked by a Lantern Festival!
Decorate the Dessert Area
In front of the backdrop, I set up my dessert table. I used a white table with a rice sack I found at a local flea market as a runner. Flea markets are great for finding vintage and unique finds for party decor! I added a large lucky cat, painted gold (supposed to bring wealth!) on top of the rice sack in front of the cake.
TIP: Cut a piece of parchment paper to use under the cake toppers to keep it all food safe!
Then, on one side of the table, I set out apothecary jars of fortune cookies and another lucky red cat on a small white stand. I also set out some fun fortune cookie-themed Truth or Dare cards. You can get the printables HERE.
On the other side of the table, I set out a bamboo steamer basket tied with green and gold ribbon and filled with lucky candy. Behind it, I set out a sign in a red painted frame saying “May you have excess every year!”. You can get the printable sign HERE. And, of course, another lucky red cat.
Set the Table
Each place setting was set on a multicolored bamboo fan. I used bamboo plates, red napkins, stemless wine glasses, champagne glasses, and gold plastic cutlery. Each place setting was completed with lots of fun accessories – from party hats to lucky coins and decorative shanghai girl boxes.
Another Chinese New Year tradition is to give family members money in red envelopes – so I added those to each place setting as well. Finally, I added favor tags wishing each guest prosperity. You can get the printable tags, designed by Jen T. by Design, HERE.
The last step is to make or order your favorite Chinese food, and let the celebration commence!
I hope you all have a very prosperous and healthy Lunar New Year!
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