Horsing around for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is fast approaching and this time around it’s the turn of the horse to get its 12 months in the spotlight. Friday, January 31st is the date in 2014 for the celebrations, which take all kinds of forms. For the roughly half a million people living in the UK who are Chinese or of Chinese extraction, the date holds a lot significance.

You can expect parties in family homes to be the mainstay of the festivities, as people look to usher in the New Year with loved ones, typically by having reunion dinner with as many relatives as possible the night before.But with a big student population in the UK, too, halls of residence and student flats up and down the land will be buzzing with Chinese New Year parties. 

Of course one the thing the Chinese are famous for loving is gambling, and we can’t think of a better way to mark the event than by hiring a casino table for your evening’s entertainment.

Indeed, the Chinese New Year is all about ushering in prosperity and abundance, wealth and and good fortune. What better representation is there than the roll of the dice or the spin of the wheel?

Favours are a good idea for your party. Hand out red packets - you could always shove a few chips in there instead of actual money, just for fun.

Serve lucky foods, like whole fish, noodles and mandarin oranges are perfect on the New Year. If you don’t fancy cooking the traditional food, most Chinese restaurants offer special New Year menus.

Decorations - red and gold are the best colours. You could try out some red Chinese lanterns and release them at the end of the night - just be careful not to set fire to your neighbours’ gardens.

Colours are important - red is good - bets on the roulette wheel might be decidedly one-sided if your guests are predominantly Chinese. White is bad - this represents death and mourning.

So serve Manhattans and red beer rather than White Russians and German weiss beer. And don’t forget to clean your home thoroughly before hand - this removes all the bad energy and fortune that may have built up over the last year.

So, whatever you plan to do on January 31st this year, whether you’re having a big bash for friends or just a easy-going get-together with family, Gung Hay Fat Choy!