Posted on Friday, 17ᵗʰ January, 2024
Ring in the New Year for the second time with a Chinese New Year celebration at your Aged Care facility. Tempt the senses with these ideas for food, decorations, and entertainment.
The date of Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar and usually falls in January or February. The holiday falls on the second new moon after the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice on December 21, between January 21 and February 20.
Regardless of the date, it is always a fun celebration that is growing in popularity across Australia and New Zealand.
The event is sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival as it marks the end of winter. In China, some businesses close for two to four weeks during this time.
2024 is the Year of the Dragon. According to chinahighlights.com, the Dragon symbolises power, nobleness, honour, luck, and success. Horoscopes point to 2024 being a year of transformation, growth, and abundance. The Dragon belongs to the Yang symbol and is associated with an element of fire. Its natural characteristics are expected to intensify this year, which will bring positive changes and opportunities for everyone.
With this in mind, it’s time to celebrate!
Decorations are easy for Chinese New Year because the focus is on the colour red. This shade is associated with life-generating energy (the sun, blood, and fire), and is the colour of choice for celebrations because it also represents prosperity.
Compliment your red decorations with gold trim. The colour gold is associated with power, wealth, longevity and happiness.
Some ideas for decorations include:
- Red lanterns: to ward off bad luck.
- Paper banners: to hang on doors and entryways; they should have messages of harmony and prosperity.
- Paper cuttings: like a ‘snowflake cutout’; these are simple but look lovely and can be created as part of a craft session before your celebration.
- Flowers: to represent wishes of a prosperous new year.
- Red tablecloths and napkins.
- Images or figures of the animal associated with this year.
If you’re hosting an event involving family or children, you can have a ‘money hunt’ and hide some red envelopes around a common area. Children can look for the envelopes and win a prize based on who finds the most.
‘Chopsticks’ is another game. Traditionally, people use chopsticks to move as many small beans from one bowl to another but you can adapt this game to suit the seniors who have trouble with dexterity, by getting them to use the training chopsticks to move something larger than beans (e.g. marshmallows).
For more game ideas, this article has some inspiration suitable for Aged Care.
If you’d like to show a film, Mao’s Last Dancer is a good choice because the main character now lives in Australia and parts of the movie were filmed in Sydney. The Joy Luck Club, The Painted Veil, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are some other movie ideas. Wish Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and Mulan are animated films seniors will also enjoy.
If you want to play some music with a Chinese theme, this Spotify soundtrack will help set the tone.
Food is key to Chinese New Year celebrations with many dishes steeped in tradition and symbolism — as well as rich in flavour.
Australia and New Zealand have a long tradition of enjoying Chinese food, and dishes can be prepared to accommodate many dietary requirements.
Here are our top 10 favourites:
Chinese New Year is a time to embrace the traditional festivities of Australia’s and New Zealand’s Chinese communities — Gong Xi Fa Cai!