In 2019, the Chinese New Year ushers in the year of the pig. And as the festivities draw ever closer, now is the perfect time to get those preparations underway.
Whether decorating the home, office, or restaurant, there are a number of must-have Chinese decorations that will enhance the festivities and bring luck throughout the year ahead. Let us take a look at some of the most important Chinese New Year items, along with their meanings below.
1) Wall Decorations
They say that the walls should tell a story, and this is particularly pertinent during Chinese New Year. Decorations depicting important Chinese characters and symbols are the most common solutions for the festivities and provide a perfect foundation for building the perfect look.
Paper cuttings that use intricate designs often carry special blessings and meanings. The ‘fu’ character is a particularly popular option as it stands for ‘good luck’ and ‘good fortune’, which are perfect messages for starting the new year. This is often presented upside down to focus on the arrival of good fortune and luck – the Mandarin word ‘dao’ sounds similar to the word for ‘arrive’.
Couplets, especially Chun Lian spring couplets, are banners that will be hung above or beside doors to also help signal the arrival of good luck. Once again, the messages of good fortune and renewed positivity are the most popular choices. Colour schemes often revolve around reds and golds.
2) Red Packets
Red packets are most commonly used to gift money to friends and family in a traditional and personalised manner. The small but stylish bags are available in pinks and oranges too but the red colour, which is synonymous with positivity, is the most popular by far.
While the red packets are primarily used for gifting purposes, they can be recycled as decorations for the home. The best designs usually depict symbols and calligraphy or zodiac animals, flowers, and other beautiful images. Packets made from high-quality materials like silk or satin bring a sense of luxury and exquisiteness that can bring out its elegance and can be used for decoration purposes.
The classy red packets play a significant role during the celebrations. In truth, no Chinese New Year party is complete without them. Whether using them to gift money or to enhance the aesthetic of the property during Chinese New Year, red packets are a must.
Chinese New Year celebrations are steeped in history and tradition, not least when dealing with the decorations. Firecrackers have been a central feature for many generations. Although their role has changed slightly over the years, firecrackers are still a popular item for the festivities.
The use of firecrackers stems from ancient times, when people would light firecrackers on New Year’s to warn off a mythical beast known as Nian. Firecrackers have been an important feature ever since. The layer of red wrappers left on the ground represents the future good luck and success that will be enjoyed throughout the year ahead, which is another key aspect of the tradition.
While some territories have banned the actual lighting of firecrackers due to safety reasons, replicas are seen throughout millions of homes during Chinese New Year. They symbolise the passing of the Nian as well as the success that awaits. While the original use of firecrackers during Chinese New Year has evolved, they still remain a very popular Chinese New Year symbol indeed.
4) Red Lantern
While Chinese New Year is a two-day public holiday, the festival itself is a 15-day celebration and red lanterns are among the items that are often displayed throughout the entire festival. They are decorative and carry a clear message through the use of colour and imagery. They can be displayed throughout the home or office.
A lantern festival is traditionally held on the final day of the celebrations, with the lights symbolising a welcoming to good luck and positivity. Lanterns are traditionally red, and often depict gold calligraphy and imagery to represent various messages for the year ahead along with general good fortune. This includes the zodiac animals. They are one of the most commonly seen decorations during Chinese New Year.
Red lanterns can be traced back to ancient times through place lanterns and gauze lanterns. Modern lanterns are still made from paper, offering an affordable and light decoration. Some lanterns may also include interesting riddles - when someone solves the riddle, they will be met with good luck or even rewarded a small gift.
Alongside red, gold is one of the most significant colours in the entire Chinese culture. It is a colour that symbolises wealth, riches, and good fortune. Gold or Yellow is considered the most beautiful and prestigious colour in the Chinese culture. The use of gold tones on Chinese New Year also represents neutrality.
Gold can be used in a versatile fashion. Whether it’s the primary colour or a secondary one, the gold tones carry the same symbolism. Popular items include paper decorations, hanging banners, and large artworks. In addition to the temporary decorations, many homes and offices will boast gold (or at least gold coloured) ornaments and decorative pieces throughout the year.
Gold is a colour that’s synonymous with new year festivities in several parts of the world, but the Chinese New Year is the one that stands out the most. Opt for a clear and distinct hint of gold when decorating your home of office on the big night. You will not regret the decision.
6) Tangerines & Pomegranate
Mandarin oranges are a popular and traditional gift for Chinese New Year celebrations because the Cantonese word ‘kam’ sounds very similar to the word for ‘gold’. As such, the fruit is seen as a symbol for everything that gold stands to represent. The exchange of mandarin oranges is most likely when visiting someone’s home during Chinese New Year.
Exchanging Mandarin oranges is considered very important, representing the idea of bring good luck into the recipient’s life for the year ahead while tangerines are associated with wealth. Mandarin oranges and tangerines that have the leaves intact also symbolise longevity. The golden fruits are often presented in a bag as this gift suits the aesthetic of the festival. Pomegranates are another popular fruit and are used to repel evil.
Pineapples are popular too. They are known as ‘ong lai’, which sounds like the phrase for ‘prosperity has come’. Whether preparing the decorations for your home or planning to visit loved ones on February 5th, all of those fruits can have a significantly positive impact on the proceedings.
7) Auspicious Animals
This year is the year of the pig, which is why decorations depicting the earth pig will play a central role in millions of homes and office. Banners, posters, artwork, ornaments, and paper decorations are all key candidates. Therefore, having the presence of a pig theme in your decoration is vital for keeping to the theme of the Chinese New Year 2019 celebrations.
The 12 auspicious animals, collectively known as Sheng Xiao, are linked back to the Han dynasty and play a significant role in the Chinese culture. Each animal is linked to the Chinese lunar calendar, and are believed to affect people in a similar way to the western astrology signs.
A focus on the pig will be evident, but all of the auspicious animals can be used to breathe life into the Chinese New Year celebrations. The other 11 animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster and dog. Hanging decorations that display the animals will go a long way to completing the look of your home or office interiors. It’s crucial for the Chinese vibe.
8) Plants – Lucky Bamboo, Kumquat, Peonies & Orchids
There is a Chinese saying 'hua kai fu gui' which means 'prosperity comes when flowers bloom.’ Several plants are particularly popular during Chinese New Year.
Plants can symbolise unique characteristics and symbolism. For example, peonies symbolise wealth and a high social class. Lucky bamboo brings good luck into your home and life, with the number of stalks dictating the type of energy and level of blessing to be received. Kumquat symbolises good luck and signals the arrival of Chinese New Year. Orchids represent friendship and nobility.
The choice of plant is, therefore, very important. However, if you don’t have the time to look after plants, why not go for auspicious floral designs such as our peonies and orchid pillow case. Either way, the inclusion of the lucky bamboo, kumquat, and orchids can only have a positive impact on your Chinese New Year celebrations.
The Final Word
Chinese New Year is an incredible time of the year, and the 2019 celebrations are sure to be bigger and better than ever.
Ensuring that your property is blessed with the right decorations will provide the atmosphere for fun and excitement during your Chinese New Year festivities. There’s still time to perfect the look of your home or office, and Shevron boasts everything you could ever need for the perfect Chinese New Year.
Take a look around our online store to find all the necessary decorations today for the perfect Chinese New Year 2019 celebrations. Whether for your home or office, Shevron gifts and decoration are sure to leave a lasting impression.