The presence of Covid-19 means that celebrating the Chinese New Year is much harder. Here are a few tips and tricks to having the best experience celebrating with each one of your loved ones, even from miles apart.
Video Call Background– Nothing can bring a group together like a killer background. No matter if you use Zoom, Skype, or some other video call service the background can add to the experience in a positive way. For the Celebration of the Chinese New Year, it may be a good idea to find a red background or even the Shanghai skyline. To feel closer to your family coordinating the background can make it feel like you are all in the same place. You can play games like a competition to find the best background in one minute.
Red Pockets and Care Packages– Just because you are not with everyone does not mean you can’t give the gifts that the children look forward to or your family would be surprised and grateful for. Mailing red envelopes and care packages allow for keeping the tradition of goodwill and love strong
Decorations– There are many things you can do to decorate your home and table to be in the Chinese New Year mood. A common decoration includes paper cuttings featuring elaborate beautiful symbols. Lanterns are another nice decoration especially an outdoor one as you go out to enjoy fireworks. Something common to decorate the table with is Kumquats and Golden Chocolate Coins as they are symbols of luck. The best part about decorating for a virtual celebration is that you only have to decorate for what is seen on screen.
Food– The reunion dinner is perhaps the key part of the celebration and along with that the food. Ultimately any food that you enjoy will do but there are a plethora of traditional dishes to choose from. One thing that can be done is to match the food that everyone will eat to give a sense of unity even while apart. If there is enough coordination video calling the family while prepping and cooking the food may also bring people together. Some traditional foods to make can break up into three categories snacks, main courses, and desserts.
Snacks: Baked seeds, Malt Candy, Popped Rice, Ginger Candy, Scorpion Tails (Fried Dough Twists), Ox Tongue Pastry, Persimmon Cake, Fruit
Main Courses: Dumplings, Spring Rolls, Noodles, Steamed Fish, Steamed Chicken, Nian Gao (Rice Cake), Hot Pot
Desserts: Fa Gao, Turnip Cake, Osmanthus Jelly, Jujube Flower Cake, Ai Wo-Wo, Rice Balls, Almond Cookies
Family Fun– There are many things to do with your family that will add to the festivities. One thing you can do is watch fireworks together via video call. You may also like to pre-tape your firework display and share it with your loved ones. If everyone does this you can all enjoy each other’s fireworks as if you are together. Another thing to do is tell stories about Chinese myths and legends the revolve around the New Year. Some of these stories include the Monster Named Nian and Dumpling Ears. Other games both online and physical can also be played together. The most important thing is that you spend the Chinese New Year with the people you love in whatever form that takes.