If you’d like to take advantage of the Chinese New Year as an opportunity to teach your children about Chinese culture, you’ll love this post. Here I’ll share a tutorial for creating Chinese New Year’s lanterns, crafting your own spring scrolls, and some FREE Chinese New Year Printables for Kids. I’m also sharing a simple way to share the flavors of the traditional Chinese New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day meals through appetizers and dishes made by Tai Pei ®. In fact, I was able to pull together all of the food dishes for our Chinese New Year’s party in about half an hour; here I’ll share my tips.
The Chinese New Year is filled with tradition, history, and delicious food. One of my favorite aspects of the celebration is the focus on family – in fact, the New Year’s meal centers on a family reunion. What a rich and wonderful way to introduce my boys to a new culture. We’re visiting family this month, and we decided to get together with my mom to host a small Chinese New Year’s party!
Of course, I love to teach my boys about new things by creating fun free printables – and I’ll be sharing the printables with HappyandBlessedHome.com readers. I’ve also got an easy and simple way to host a Chinese New Year’s Eve Tasting party – complete with all the food you’ll need to feed six people – and you can cook it all in less than half an hour!
This blog post was previously compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearFortune #CollectiveBias.
If you’re planning a Chinese New Year’s party here are a few helpful tips about Chinese culture to help you plan and prepare.
- The Chinese New Year falls on a different day of the year every year – it’s tied to a lunar calendar.
- Each year has a different animal representing the personality for the year.
- The New Year is also known as a Spring Festival in celebration of the coming season for planting crops.
- Chinese New Year is an easy-entertaining event that celebrates the wish for “good fortune” to all in the year ahead, with traditional appetizers and red-envelope gifts.
- People usually wear something red in an effort to ward off evil spirits. The color red is also believed to bring good luck and joy .
- Black or white are not worn at all as these colors are associated with mourning.
- Red lanterns are used to decorate streets and gathering places to keep evil spirits away.
- The New Year’s Eve meal and New Year’s Day are an important time for families to eat together, enjoy board and card games, and celebrate the start of a New Year.
- The following table provides some basic data on the date of the Chinese New Year and the animal represented for the given year per the Chinese Zodiac. 2015 is the Year of the Sheep.
|2016||8-Feb||February 7 – 13||Monkey|
|2017||28-Jan||January 27 – February 2||Rooster|
|2018||16-Feb||February 15 – 21||Dog|
Chinese New Year’s Tasting Party
Eating together as a family plays an important role in Chinese New Year’s tradition. If you would like to host a Chinese New Year’s party, but don’t have the time to create every dish from scratch – you’ll love the tasty authentic Chinese cuisine from Tai Pei®.
Ingredients for Chinese New Year’s Tasting Party
1 – 22.5 oz Tai Pei® Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls
1 – 225 oz Tai Pei® Mini Chicken Spring Rolls
1 – 24 oz Tai Pei® Chicken Egg Rolls
1 – 24 oz bag of Tai Pei® Chicken Potstickers
1 – 28 oz bag of Tai Pei® Edamame
1 – 14 oz box of Tai Pei® Bourbon Chicken
1 – 14 oz box of Tai Pei® Beef & Broccoli
1 – small box of fortune cookies
1 – jar of duck sauce – any variety
1 – 1/2 stick of butter for browning pot stickers if desired
All of the Tai Pei® products are loaded with traditional style and flavors – like chicken, pork or shrimp. They are authentic Asian appetizers – ready in minutes.
Directions for creating Chinese New Year’s Tasting Party in half-an-hour
For this tasting party prep you’ll be using the oven, two pots of boiling water, and your microwave – all will be used simultaneously to ensure everything warms at the same time; and makes it possible to have everything ready in under half an hour.
Take all your Tai Pei® products out of the freezer and place on the kitchen counter.
Your longer cook-time items are the spring rolls and egg rolls – so start with pre-heating the oven to 450 degrees and then set two pots to boil, more below on the pots.
The best way to prepare the box of Bourbon Chicken and the box of Beef & Broccoli is to microwave them. Each only requires five minutes in the microwave to cook. Start one as soon as you get the oven going and the water boiling. Start the second one as soon as the first is finished. Make sure to leave the plastic wrap on the package. The cooking process actually completes itself best when the microwaved package is left in its plastic wrap for a few minutes after microwaving.
Once you have the oven pre-heating you’ll need to set two pots to boil with water.
Pot #1 is for the pot stickers and will need to be large enough to hold 8 cups of water. Turn the stovetop on and heat your pot to boiling. Once the water is boiling, cut open your bag and empty the pot stickers into the water and boil for 8 minutes.
Pot #2 is for the edamame and will need to be large enough to hold 6 cups of water. Turn the stovetop on and heat your pot to boiling. Once the water is boiling, cut open your bag and empty the edamame into the water and boil for about 8 1/2 minutes.
While you are waiting for the water to heat, take a baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Place the spring rolls and egg rolls on top of the baking sheet so they are close together but not touching. Once the oven reaches 450 degrees, bake the spring rolls and egg rolls for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the rolls halfway through baking for the best results. There is a dipping sauce included with the appetizers – the sauce with the spring and egg rolls is the red sauce on the left. The brown sauce is included with the Tai Pei® pot stickers and the sauce on the right is a store bought duck sauce.
Once the pot of edamame has boiled for 8 minutes, take it off the burner and set aside. To ensure it stays warm you can leave the edamame in the hot water until you serve it. Just know that if you leave it too long it can reduce the crispiness of the edamame.
Once the pot of pot stickers is done boiling, drain the pot stickers and set them on a plate. I used the same cooking pot to brown the outer edges of my pot stickers by placing the pot back on medium heat and melting the butter on it. Once the butter was melted and browned, I added the pot stickers and turned them periodically throughout the browning process.
By this time your spring and egg rolls should be finished.
You can always use the oven as a warmer if needed. I was able to get everything cooked in just under half an hour. This amount of food will easily feed six adults.
As a part of the Chinese New Year’s celebration, the Chinese create spring scrolls. These are typically hung on Chinese door posts and are inscribed with New Year’s blessings. I created some spring scrolls with my eldest – he had a great time painting on his very own spring scroll.
Chinese Spring Scrolls Craft
Materials to create Chinese Spring Scrolls:
1 – Inexpensive plastic tablecloth in red
2 – Jars of gold acrylic paint – black will also work
1 – Paint brush in 1/2 an inch to 3/4 inches in width
1 – Pair of scissors
1 – Roll of tape to hang up your art
Directions to create Chinese Spring Scrolls
Cut the tablecloth into strips about 6 inches wide – keep it folded in half for thickness.
I’ve photographed a few of the words in Chinese calligraphy that I wrote on our spring scrolls. What a wonderful educational experience for kids!
As a part of the Chinese New Year’s celebration, the Chinese also hang red lanterns. Red lanterns symbolize prosperity. The red lanterns are hung to celebrate the New Year and share wishes for a prosperous new year. The red lanterns are usually hung from Jan.1 to 15 on Chinese lunar calendar.
Chinese Lantern Craft
Materials to create Chinese Lantern Craft:
1 – Package of construction paper – this will yield about 8 pieces of yellow and 8 pieces of red construction paper
1 – Jar of white school glue
1 – Stapler with staples
1 – Pair of scissors – my son used safety scissors
1 – Roll of kite string or baker’s twine
Directions to create Chinese Lanterns
Step 1: Fold a piece a red construction paper in half lengthwise.
Step 2: Cut a slit in the paper perpendicular to the fold leaving about an inch-and-a-half on the end not cut. This uncut part of the paper will create a band for the top and bottom of the lantern.
Step 3: Join both ends of the lantern to create a circle. Use the white school glue and a staple to join the lantern edges at the “bands”.
Step 4: To create the yellow “light” inside the lantern – cut two 1 to 1 1/2 inch bands off the long side of the yellow pieces of construction paper. This will leave at least 2/3rds of the yellow paper. Roll the larger piece of the yellow paper into a barrel and staple it inside the red part of the lantern.Do this in such a way as to “bulge” the red paper outwards. Since the yellow paper is shorter this should automatically cause the red paper to “bow”. Staple the yellow barrel/cylinder in place.
Step 5: Attach the yellow bands to the top and bottom edges of the lanterns with the white school glue and staples.
Step 6: Measure how far down you’d like your lantern to hang to determine the length of cord needed for your baker’s twine or string. Cut your cord to fit the space so the lantern hangs exactly where you want it to hang.
Step 7: Tie three knots – one on top of the other – at each end of the twine or cord. Staple the cord just above the knots on the inside of the lantern on opposing sides.
Step 8: Hang your lantern(s)!
FREE Chinese New Year Printables for Kids
I’ve also created some fun FREE printables for kids based upon some of the fun memory-making ideas I’ve featured here. New printables are created and published every month. Subscribe Here to HappyandBlessedHome.com to download your free Chinese New Year printables and get regular updates from HappyandBlessedHome.com. Join our online community of 40,000 fans and receive easy recipes, free printables and ideas for family fun!
Where to Find Everything for your Chinese New Year’s Party
I purchased all of the Tai Pei® food, party supplies, and craft supplies at Walmart. You can find the Tai Pei® Egg Rolls and Tai Pei® Spring Rolls in the frozen foods section near “Family Meals”.
Happy Chinese New Year!
I hope this post has inspired you to host your own Chinese New Year’s celebration. The boys enjoyed eating crunchy and flaky Tai Pei® Egg Rolls and Tai Pei® Spring Rolls, and edamame beans straight from the bean pods.
More Chinese New Year Recipe Ideas
To find more delicious recipes you can pair or make with Tai Pei® appetizers and dishes visit their website at TaiPeiFood. Tai Pei® is celebrating the New Year by offering a new Chinese New Year app for FREE on the Tai Pei® Facebook page. The Red Envelope tab on the app will include a coupon starting February 4 and will run until coupons run out. You can also find some great Tai Pei® coupons in local papers and other publications starting February 8.
Hosting a Chinese New Year’s Eve party and using Tai Pei® appetizers and dishes? Make sure to connect with them on Twitter and Pinterest. Join others who love to celebrate the Chinese New Year with Tai Pei®.
What are your Chinese New Year’s Traditions?
How does your family celebrate the Chinese New Year? What’s your favorite dish? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. I always love hearing from my readers – and Happy New Year!
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Originally published Feb. 5, 2015