10 Ways to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

If you’re a local living in Shanghai, you may be looking for ways to fit in with the traditions and cultures of the largest city by population in China and indeed the world as well. Home to more than 24 million, this global financial hub has a history of being a major administrative, shipping, and trading town. This year, Chinese New Year kicks off a two-week-long celebration starting on Monday, February 8th.  How will you celebrate?

  1. See some fireworks. At midnight on Chinese New Year’s Eve, be sure to take in a stunning spectacular pyrotechnic display, which supposedly frightens monsters away according to Chinese legend.
  2. Visit Longhua Temple. It was built in 242 AD and happens to be the largest, most complete ancient temple complex in all of Shanghai. Don’t miss the traditional bell-striking ceremony to kick off Chinese New Year, aka Spring Festival.
  3. Go to City God Temple to enjoy colorful decorations, light some incense and pray that the upcoming year will be profitable and successful for you and your family. This temple, situated next to Yu Yuan Garden, was constructed in 1403.
  4. While you’re at it, visit the beautiful Yu Yuan Garden, first created in 1559 at the height of the Ming Dynasty.
  5. Taste some Chinese dumplings, also known as Jiaozi, which are thought to mimic the look of ancient silver ingots hailing from the Ming dynasty. Wealth and prosperity will come to you, or so the legend has it, if you eat these during Chinese New Year.
  6. Clean house and go shopping. It’s customary for Chinese people to do a full cleaning of their homes right before the celebrations, then head out to the shops to purchase new clothing, gifts, and household goods. Ladies rather enjoy picking out new red underwear to represent fire, which repels bad luck.
  7. Attend a lantern parade. A vibrant spectacle, the Chinese Lantern Festival signals the end of Chinese New Year. This parade was first put on back in 206 BC during the Han Dynasty featuring real fire and paper lanterns. Today’s modern lantern parades now feature electric and neon lanterns in the shape of animals or dragons rather than paper and wooden ones.
  8. Go on a pub crawl. The year of the monkey is bringing everyone out to have a pint, or two or three, during Chinese New Year.
  9. See a fortune teller. In the heart of Shanghai, fortune tellers abound, ready to tell you your future for a price. This fun tradition can be a unique way to ring in the Chinese New Year.
  10. Make a commitment to learn a new language. Learn Chinese using the versatile and easy-to-use Bric Language Systems. You’ve been saying for years you want to get global and pick up a new language. There’s never a better time than during Chinese New Year!