Asian temple dragon (Shutterstock)
List 07 February

5 things you didn't know about Chinese New Year

Fish, fake money and 'fu' – here's your mini guide to Chinese New Year

Paper decorations should be hung upside down

The Chinese character fu means ‘good luck’. So people hang paper ‘fu’ decorations upside-down because the character for ‘upside-down’ (dao) is pronounced the same as the character for ‘arrive’. Therefore, by turning the character ‘fu’ upside down, it means they are wishing for luck to ‘arrive’.

Burning money is pretty common

At New Year Chinese people visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects. They also burn fake money by the graves as an offering to their ancestors, providing them with money in the afterlife.

Chinese lanterns (Shutterstock)
Chinese lanterns (Shutterstock)

If you want to give a gift – think red

The colour red represents prosperity and good luck. Younger relatives often receive money-filled red envelopes (known as hong bao).

Fish are prosperous

The character for fish (yu) is pronounced the same as the character for ‘surplus’, so fish is often eaten at this time. It symbolises the want for greater wealth and objects in the New Year.

New Year candles in Beijing (Dreamstime)
New Year candles in Beijing (Dreamstime)

Dumplings can mean real dough

Dumplings are prepared and eaten because their shape represents a yuanbao, an ancient form of money. Usually, a coin will be hidden in one of the dumplings as a sign of wealth and good luck for the person who picks it.

Tips provided by Wendy Wu, the founder of China specialist travel company Wendy Wu Tours, who invites travellers into her apartment on Chinese New Year so they can experience a traditional party.


Main image: Asian temple dragon (Shutterstock)