The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, marks the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, falling this year on Feb. 8. Traditions include a large family meal and a 15-day celebration with themes like good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. Even if you don’t traditionally celebrate the Chinese New Year, it’s a great reason to get together with friends and explore the holiday.
Nothing sets the mood for a gathering around the table like a lively, thematic tablescape. Here we took advantage of the great vertical space above the farmhouse table to transform it into a Chinese New Year-themed celebration.
Chinese lanterns and paper umbrellas float overhead, echoing the Lantern Festival, which occurs on the closing day of Chinese New Year. Add a fresh floral twist by draping the flowing amaranthus ‘Dreadlocks’ from the overhead display.
A great alternative to fresh flowers for your Chinese New Year dinner centerpiece is a bowl of bright tangerines or oranges. Not only will they last longer and offer a great, vibrant color, but they also symbolize luck and wealth in the Chinese culture. The gift of an orange or tangerine is thought to help encourage happiness and prosperity upon the recipient. Feel free to play with the height of your orange-filled vases. Fill up some tall, clear glass vases to maximize height, or a long, low trough along the center of the table for maximum color. Whatever your container of preference, be sure it doesn’t sit at eye level to block a diner’s view and inhibit conversation. You’ll want the good luck and conversation to flow freely!
Welcome guests to your Chinese New Year celebration with creatively designed fortune cookie place cards. You can either use real fortune cookies from your local Asian market, or make your own paper fortune cookie. Grab a few sheets of your favorite pattern, or keep with the Chinese New Year theme and choose red or gold paper. For this project you’ll need:
White paper Scrapbook paper Pen Glue Scissors Drinking glass (about 4 inches wide)
Instructions for Making a Paper Fortune Cookie Place Card:
Lay the scrapbook paper facedown on a table and set the drinking glass or cup on top of it. Draw a circle around the drinking glass and cut along the line you’ve drawn.
Flip the paper over and softly bend the circle in the center, careful not to crease it. Secure with glue.
Cut a 1 by 4 inch strip of white paper and write your guest’s name on it.
Slip the place card into the fortune cookie.
With your thumb and forefinger gently pull both ends of the half-circle toward each other. Add a dot of hot glue to hold the two ends together.
Your guests will have a great time exploring the fortune cookies to discover their place at your table!