New Year in China is the most important holiday, a time of feasting with the family, celebration, fireworks, and gift-giving.
The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of Chinese New Year changes every year. In 2010 this national holiday is celebrated from February 13 up to February 20 and coincides with St. Valentine’s Day. Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days (it’s an old tradition followed mainly in countryside), starting with the Lunar New Year and ending with the Lantern Festival on the night of the fifteenth day. Each day of Chinese New Year has its own significance and set of festivities that are to take place. For example, the first day is for visiting and honoring elderly family members and welcoming various Chinese gods, while on the second day time is set aside for prayer to ancestors and deities and for married daughters to visit their parents. Other days of the Chinese New Year are for staying at home, going to the market, having time with families, reunion dinners, and visiting friends.
There’s a popular tradition in China of red envelopes filled with “lucky money”. These envelopes are given to children and unmarried adults by the married couples. The red color is considered to bring good fortune, and the money is used to buy holiday treats.
In addition to red envelopes, New Year gifts in China are also exchanged between friends, relatives or business associates. Chinese people prefer practical and useful gifts over fancy items. New Year Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common New Year gifts in China are fruit baskets, gourmet baskets, sweet baskets filled with biscuits, chocolates, candies, or some other gifts. A good imported cognac, fine liqueur or wine (especially Medium Dry Wine, Dry Red Wine and Medium Sweet Wine) are some of the famous spirits that are apt for holiday gift giving, particularly for men and colleagues. Flowers and blooming plants is also a great gift idea for Chinese New Year because flowers are considered lucky in China as they signify rebirth and new growth. Along with romantic messages to beloved ones, you can also send the greetings of prosperity in the coming year with a beautiful flower basket to China.
When it comes to gift wrapping, if possible, have your gifts wrapped in red paper, which is considered a lucky color. Plain red paper is one of the few “safe” choices since a variety of meanings, many of which are negative, are attributed to colors in Chinese culture. Pink, gold and silver are also acceptable colors for gift wrap, while white, black, or blue should always be avoided.
These are only some of the gift tips to delight both your nearest and dearest and business associates on this Chinese New Year. Visit our website www.giftbasketsoverseas.com and you’ll find much more New Year gift ideas to any taste!