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Aussies Celebrate Chinese New Year Too!

michelle wu
Michelle Wu

Shopping centres all decked out in red and gold? Check.

“Gung Hay Fat Choy” banners and posters everywhere? Yep.

It’s official, Chinese New Year is coming!

Once a foreign concept to Aussies, Chinese New Year (CNY), also known as Lunar New Year, has now become the biggest cultural festivity around the country.

Traditionally, it’s one of the most important Chinese festivals celebrated at the turn of the Lunisolar Calendar, which explains why it falls on a different date each year. This year, the festivities will start on Monday 8th February, although they generally go on for 2 weeks.

Here are a few quirky things you can do to welcome the Year of the Monkey all the way down under!

Go Cray with the Red and Gold

In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolises good luck and gold means, well, gold. So whenever there is a celebration – CNY, weddings, birthdays – red and gold are THE go-to colours for EVERYTHING.

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

Gung Hay Fat whaaaat?

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

The proper Chinese phrase is 恭喜發財, pronounced “Gung Hay Fat Choy” in Cantonese and “Gong Xi Fa Cai” in Mandarin.

The direct translation is “congratulations on gaining wealth”, which is commonly used as the festive greeting to wish others good fortune.

There are a few different spellings of this because it’s just spelled the way it’s spoken in Chinese. Feel free to greet everyone with this phrase for the first two weeks of CNY, you may even get red packets! (See next point)

Give or Receive Red Packets

Also known as a red envelope or 紅包 “hongbao”, is a monetary gift given during this festive season, typically from the married to the unmarried (#singlelife).

Courtesy Lai See

Courtesy Lai See

Usually notes are used to avoid heavy coins, and tradition is to not open the envelopes in front of the givers out of courtesy. These are usually given in the first week of CNY.

Prepare a Chinese Candy Box

全盒 literally meaning “Complete Box” is a traditional box used during this period for storing festive snacks, such as candied winter melon and pumpkin seeds (mmmm seeeeeds). The box is usually round with a lid with fancy patterns in red or black motif, and is a symbol of good fortune and joy.

They’re also a great treat for house guests who typically visit during this period to bring their well wishes (and collect some red packets ;))

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

Welcome the Monkeys with a Bang!

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

Courtesy of Michelle Wu

As the CNY festivities get bigger and bigger each year, so do the number of events and cities involved!

Check out this WEBSITE with a full listing of celebration locations around the country.

From lion dances, to lighting lunar lanterns, to even carving your name on tofu, there’s bound to be something for you to get into the CNY spirit!

Explore city-specific happenings:

So what are you waiting for? Get your QIPAO on and monkey around!

Michelle Wu is a Hong Kong-born Australian food and lifestyle blogger. She is part of a new generation of Australian-Asian that is passionate about all things fusion and exploring new experiences that unify the influences of varying cultures. When she is not busy trying new things to blog and Instagram about, she is learning and working hard to become a Unicorn