Monday, January 25, 2010

Gung Hey Fat Choy

My friend Leisha inspired me to throw a Chinese New Year's party...
(The official Chinese New Year isn't until Feb. 14th) but this did not deter us...

Since space was an issue in my house, we decided to keep it to just the Atkinson family and Olivia Webster and her daughter...(Olivia's husband, Bill was out of town)...

I felt more pressure knowing that Olivia was coming (she is from Hong Kong). I didn't want her to think I was making a mockery out of their holiday...
I think she was curious to see what an American Chinese New Year party would be like...

I've never been to a Chinese New Year party so I had no idea what the traditional decorations looked like. This was my Americanized interpretation...

Fresh flowers signify a prosperous new year...

Oranges mean good health and long life...

Red is a symbol of happiness and gold means wealth and happiness...

Olivia lent me this Chinese lantern that looked so authentic hanging in front of my fireplace...

The kids helped me make red paper lanterns that I hung in the doorway...

I hung red ribbons with different Chinese characters attached that said things like "Love", "Faith", "Prosperity", and "The Year of the Tiger"...

Olivia brought this circular candy tray called "The Tray of Togetherness". It is a Chinese tradition to have this at a New Year's party. Each item represents some kind of good fortune.

Our menu consisted of Broccoli and Beef, Chicken Fried Rice, Dumplings, White Rice, Fried Won-Tons, and Fried Spring Rolls...

It was so delicious and festive...

I felt so authentic at one point that I almost started spewing out chinese words...(which would basically consist of "wonton" and "chop suey")


Another tradition is for the adults to give the children red envelopes ("lee see") filled with money...

Leisha and Olivia both brought envelopes to give the kids...

Before the kids can have the envelope, they first must all say,

"Gung Hey Fat Choy" (Happy New Year)

Much enthusiasm was shown once they all knew money was involved!

I love the expression on Olivia's face...She is such a genuine person...

Here are some of the things I learned about the traditions and superstitions about Chinese New Year:

1) Wear brand new clothes and shoes (preferably red)

2) Don't wash your hair

3) Don't sweep the floor

4) Don't greet people who are in mourning

5) Don't drop your chopsticks

6) Don't say the number 'four' (Chinese homonym for death)

7) Don't borrow or lend money

For dessert, I wanted to make something special, so I
made these graham cracker tartlets out of egg roll wrappers.

(recipe courtesy of my sister, Nella)

The recipe for this can be found at ("Crisp Tart Shells")

Having this little mini Chinese New Year party was a great way for us all to learn some new things about the Chinese culture.

***Did you learn something new?


  1. What an amazing and fun party! You are so darn creative.

  2. (This is Emily W., by the way...)

    Ok, I LOVE CHINESE NEW YEAR!!! It was by FAR my favorite holiday in Singapore. Especially the part where we got money in pretty little envelopes. I'm so glad you included that part for the kids!

    Oh, this whole post has me reminiscing. SO MUCH FUN!!

  3. ooh, now I'm craving Chinese food! What did you put in as the filling for those tarts?

  4. that looks like a blast! glad the shells turned out okay. they look better than mine! (of course they do... you're Shannon!) great job!

  5. I went to a Chinese New Year party once with a friend who had served a mission in Hong Kong. It was so fascinating to learn about all the traditions. Fun stuff!

  6. you are AWESOME shannon! what a fun activity for your kids, especially having olivia there to give you insight in how things are done. i love this idea!

    gung hey fat choy!

  7. What a fun thing to do! I never go out of my way to host anything other than game night or a family birthday parties, you inspire me!

  8. You know how to throw a party - so fun!

  9. Thank you for including me in your fun life. Rockin' fiesta - Chinese style of course!

  10. ooohhh... i just missed it! darn! everything looked great- did olivia think it was pretty authentic?

  11. It looks wonderful! What a wonderful way to learn about other countries. Have you ever celebrated Passover? I think that would be interesting.

  12. Totally, I learned I don't have to sweep the floor...

    You put on a great party. The food sounds delicious. My DH despises Chinese food. I don't get it very often.

  13. What fun! That was a seriously high-effort party.