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5 Ways To Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Home

Festive banquets and fireworks usually come to mind when it's time for the annual Chinese New Year. But perhaps what truly makes the occasion much-awaited and special is the family that travels miles back home for the anticipated new year welcome.

Although we may have to do away with crowded gatherings and travel, there are still several things that families can do to keep this tradition alive, albeit being apart. By now, we're no strangers in modifying celebrations to keep with safety protocols. And just like the previous birthdays, weddings, and the whole Christmas season, for sure, this auspicious affair can also find happiness and cheer despite veering away from a few customary practices.

Here are five ways families can safely celebrate at home.

1. Catch up online with family and friends

If the family can't be physically together, the next best thing is to see their bright faces on virtual screens sending warm regards and greetings.

The first few days of the New Year are mostly reserved for family reunions at home. But with the health of elders and children to think about, it's best to maintain social distancing and instead look for alternative ways to bond with each other. Through online video calls, families can still somehow eat beside the faces of their loved ones. Meanwhile, you can also task courier services to deliver your New Year's gifts to close family members.

2. Sweep and clean

A few days before the New Year, it's important to sweep away dust and clean greasy corners in the house. One of the auspicious beliefs for the occasion is that homes need to wipe out the past year's misfortunes and make the house ready to invite luck and prosperity. But it would be best if you were mindful of cleaning a few days before and not during or directly after the celebration. Otherwise, you may be sweeping out good luck instead. Take your time to do some spring cleaning around the house. It may even serve as good exercise and a way for children to participate in the New Year preparation.

3. Decorate with scarlet ornaments

The Lunar New Year does not shy from color. When this celebration takes place, streets and houses are commonly awash with bright and festive decorations. And at home, it's salient for families to adorn their houses with scarlet ornaments. The red color is a significant symbol of luck and prosperity, which is why red lanterns are often hung to ward off bad luck. Paper cuttings are also stuck to windows to attract happiness in the home. Families can also decorate with orchids and peonies, which are known as blooming flowers in the Spring Festival.

4. Share the wealth with loved ones

Adults and children alike cannot escape from the excitement of receiving those familiar red envelopes. Collecting ang pao, or hongbao in Mandarin, are perhaps one of the happiest moments experienced every Chinese New Year. As monetary gifts, these envelopes signify goodwill and appreciation for loved ones. And if you're worried about disappointing your nieces and nephews who are expecting to receive theirs, you do not need to worry. You can still preserve this tradition thanks to the latest efforts of virtual wallets. Send out ang paos to close family members and deliver wealth and prosperity digitally.

5. Cook lucky favorites

No celebration is ever complete without a marvelous feast. But for this special occasion, food truly takes center stage. In Chinese culture, there are certain types of "lucky" food that should be served for Lunar New Year. And perhaps the most important of them all are dumplings mainly because they look similar to ancient gold ingots, representing wealth. Meanwhile, noodles signify long life. But there is also food that shouldn't be served for breakfast, like meat and porridge, that are believed to reverse one's fortune and offend Buddhist gods.

Welcoming the new year as one family is the true essence of Chinese New Year. But even if families can't reunite this year, at least there are still a few activities we can do to feel we're celebrating together despite being miles apart.

Adorning the house with festive decor and lining the dinner tables with classic family favorites are just a few ways. For healthier alternatives, you might want to try cooking delicious fried rice with Duru Bulgur's nutritious grains. Celebrate the New Year with sumptuous food and hopeful wishes for a healthier and brighter year ahead. —(TGM)

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