You might still be invited to a Chinese New Year do, even though the ‘New Year’ is over.
This is because the Chinese celebrate the New Year for 15 days! Yes one five. So these top tips are still useful as you will probably be invited to a do this week-end. I have had my share of invites yesterday, Sunday, and the day before.
If you are invited to a Chinese New Year Party, consider yourself lucky. For you will be invited to, usually, a day of eating and drinking ( mainly eating).
Wear Red or bright colours to the event.
Red is considered a prosperous colour. It stands for good fortune, protection and happiness. The Chinese use Red in all the important occasions, like weddings, births, new year and new business openings.
#2 Take a small gift with you
This can be some tangerines or some biscuits/cookies that the Chinese (Malaysian) like.
Tangerines represents gold, the colour. So it would be a good idea if you bring tangerines as a gift to your Chinese host.
If you are invited to a home, guests are expected to partake in the food that is offered. You might not get a full meal, as most visitors can drop by anytime of the day. That is the Malaysian practice, anyway. But a word of caution, you better confirm with the host. Visitors are always offered drinks and snacks. There are the usual biscuits and cookies. Nibbles like Peanut Cookies, Kuih Kapit ( love letters), Kuih Bangkit ( tapioca cookies), green pea cookies , etc, are Chinese New Year delicacies. Nowadays there are many different types of chocolate cookies, cakes and biscuits that the host makes or purchases.
There are all types of nuts and nibbles, too . As Malaysians, we do serve spicy snack of Indian and Malay origin. We have muruku which is an Indian snack like the Bombay Mix you get here. Others snacks include arrow root chips, preserved fruits ,melon seeds with shells!, peanuts or monkey nuts, dried winter melon pieces, and a lot of tangerines.
Since cookies and biscuits are the preferred snacks, this will make good gifts as well.You can take these cookies which are gift-wrapped.
To be honest, most Chinese are practical, and do not mind that the cookies are not gift wrapped. Just make sure that there are some red colour in the packing.
#3 It’s ok to gift alcohol
If you drink, it is ok to bring a bottle of alcohol. Brandy is the preferred drink, but times have changed and other types of alcohol like whiskey or beer is acceptable.
#4 Know your (drink) limit.
If you are a man, you will most probably be invited to have a drink, I mean, alcohol. Most Chinese men will drink brandy and the more expensive it is, the better. This is perhaps an ego thing. Your host will be offended if you refuse. It is obligatory to have some. Just so that you know, you need to know your limit, as very often it will end up as who can drink the most!! Caution, Caution!
#5 Avoid taboo words.
Work like ‘death’, or ‘poor me’, or ‘I am gutted’ are not auspicious words to use and also avoid swearing. We like to start the year with nice and positive words.
#6 Hung Bao is a must.
If you attend as a family and you have children, woohoo, your kids will have a field day as the Chinese give lucky Red packets or Hung Bao, or Ang Bao ( in the Hokkien dialect). These little packets contain money! The amount varies, depending on the affluence of the host, how close you are to them, or if you are related.
The rule is that you do not comment or open the packets. But if your children accidentally did that, please tell them not to compare as it is considered very rude to do so.
One year, I invited my daughter’s friend to my house to have Chinese New Year lunch. I gave the girl a Hung Bao. After she left, the brother came back, knock on my door and returned the money!!! Whoao… This is not ok. The money is meant for the kid. So do not feel that you are taking off money for nothing! Its the Chinese Culture! This brings me to tip
#7 Do not reciprocate giving the Hung Bao!
unless you are Chinese! It is the Chinese Culture, not your non-Chinese culture. So, Just enjoy it.
#8 Never ask for a Hung Bao
A very very important point to note is the Hung Baos are GIVEN, not ASKED. Never ask for a Hung Bao. There are times we give to service providers like the bin man, or the neighbourhood kids. Then these kids turn up at our home and demand Hung Baos every year!! Never ever do that!!
Begging is not a good thing to do during the new year, There are many taboos in Chinese New Year and begging or asking is not even mentioned as these are such inauspicious actions!. New year is the start of the year of ABUNDANCE!!
So there you go.
8 Top tips on how to be the perfect guest in a Chinese New Year Party. By the way 8 is an auspicious number as it sound like Fa or Fatt in Cantonese, meaning prosperity.
What an auspicious number to end this post.
So here is Gong Xi Fa Cai to every one of you. Please follow me and like my post and share with your friends who needs this ‘wise advice’. Just remember to share the link to my blog.
Until the next post. Cheers.