Sunday, March 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Look for luck when decorating for Chinese New Year

By
From page C2 | January 20, 2012 |

A tangerine plant with “lucky money” attached is a simple Chinese New Year decoration that makes a bold statement. BigStock photo

By Michelle Locke

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but did you know a bowl of tangerines can usher in good fortune for the Lunar New Year?

In Chinese, their name sounds like the word for luck. The same double meaning holds true for oranges, which sound like the word for fortune, and pomelos, which sound like “to have.”

This kind of symbolism is huge in decorating for Chinese New Year, where setting the stage for an auspicious year means surrounding yourself with things that look and sound like good fortune — a home-sweet-homonym approach.

Red and gold are the dominant colors of Chinese New Year decorations, with gold signaling prosperity and red indicating life. (And the word for red in Chinese sounds like prosperous.)

As the Year of the Dragon approaches, on Monday, one way to mark the occasion is to hang paper banners printed with couplets expressing good wishes for the coming year. These can be found at Chinese markets and online. And if you have a steady hand, you can try the DIY approach, looking online for a template of the character “fu” — fortune — and copying it.

San Francisco resident Deborah Parker Wong, an American of English and German descent married to a first-generation Cantonese Chinese man, has been observing Christian and Chinese festivals for years to give the couple’s two children the best of both cultures.

“My favorite decorations are the bright-red flowering quince branches that I cut from our garden at this time of year. The branches symbolize growth and prosperity, and they are hung with red envelopes that contain ‘lucky money,'” she says. (Lucky money is cash stuffed into brightly decorated red envelopes that are given to children in the family.)

Parker Wong, an editor at The Tasting Panel magazine, also puts out plates of tangerines with the stems and leaves still attached, which represents strong family bonds.

Another fun custom is to prepare a Harmony Tray or “tray of togetherness,” featuring candied fruits, nuts and seeds, with each representing some form of good fortune. Candied melon, for instance, symbolizes growth and good health. Items are often displayed in groups of eight, a homonym for prosperity, or nine, which sounds like longevity.

Known as the Spring Festival and celebrated in similar ways in other Asian countries, Chinese New Year begins with the big “reunion dinner,” where as many members of the family as possible get together under one roof. The celebrations go on for two weeks, ending on the 15th day with the Lantern Festival.

A simple and fresh way to welcome the Lunar New Year is with flowers. Peonies, the “queen of flowers,” are a popular choice, although any kind of flower is OK because the idea is that flowers represent a beginning, says David Lei, an expert in Chinese traditions who serves as a cultural advisor to the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival Committee, part of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco.

Water narcissus flowers symbolize good luck, and it’s particularly auspicious if they bloom on New Year’s Day.

An easy way to create your own Lunar New Year display, says Parker Wong, is to set out a vase of narcissus or flowering plum branches, and then add a dish of tangerines and pomelos, stems and leaves attached of course, and a harmony tray.

Before you get started with New Year’s decorating, remember to clean the house thoroughly; this is an important ritual to clear the house of any residual bad luck.

The good news is you won’t have to do this again until the festival is over. After all, you wouldn’t want to sweep any of that new luck out the door.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Child abduction case in jury’s hands

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    City offers wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    MU Games closing in late March

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Still no parole in toddler case

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Young patients bond with special stuffies

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Radio talk show moves to Mondays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Assault awareness campaign kicks off

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Rowing: PE as well as life skills

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Police complaint procedures drafted

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Clarifying energy update letter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Weekly claw pickup necessary

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    City may get charged up over energy choices

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Milt Priggee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

     
    Design innovation centers for the 21st century

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8