Monday, February 11, 2013

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!  Maybe it's because I'm from New Orleans (we like any excuse to party), or maybe it's the fascination that I've always had with other cultures and far away places, but I thought it might be fun to host a Chinese New Year themed games night.  So we invited our gaming group over to our house for a night of fun, food, and just general hijinks (I found a plastic snake in my bed at the end of the night, no lie).  But you can't have a theme party without some cool decorations, so I hit up Oriental Trading Company and this is what I found:

I believe this handsome fellow is Cai Shen, the Chinese God of Wealth. I'm not sure what he's carrying in his right hand, but it might be the tool that he uses to convert iron into gold. I like his banner, but I have no idea what it says.  It could be "stupid Americans know nothing about our traditions", but I'm betting it's something about good luck and personal wealth in the new year.

This pretty banner is supposed to be saying "good luck", but again, it could be anything.  I once bought my husband a pair of boxer shorts that were supposed to say "back in the USSR" in Cyrillic.  When I showed them to a Russian friend, he almost fell off his chair laughing.  The shorts actually said "hot stuff", "big hose", "on fire", and other salacious phrases describing the wearer's penis.

I'm not entirely sure why dragons are so closely associated with the Chinese New Year (2012 was the Year of the Dragon, by the way).  I do know that the famous Dragon Dance is often performed at Chinese New Year celebrations.  The dragon does make a pretty spiffy decoration though, I'm tempted to leave it up year round.

Getting down Chinese dragon style!

Ah, the warm glow of softly lit red lanterns...  Red lanterns (and the color red in general) is associated with the story of Nian.  You see, Nian was this nasty beastie that celebrates his new year by eating livestock and small children.  Villagers, not being stupid people, lock up their sheep and small children on New Year's Day and leave food outside their doors (the hope being that Nian would chow down on people food and not on people).  One day, to the horror of the villagers, a small child wearing red got out, but instead of noming him, Nian ran away.  It turns out that, despite being a big ole baddie, Nian is scared of the color red.  So everyone puts out red lanterns, red decorations, and wears the color red to scare away Nian.  I must say it worked for us, no wiener dogs were eaten by Nian...

 ...much to their relief...

So that's it for this time folks.  I hope you all had a wonderful Chinese New Year and that you have a fun and prosperous Year of the Snake.

Keep watching this space for more holiday decorations, an introduction to my crazy collections, and of course renovation updates.


  1. Not to be dismissive of the fabulous decorations, but the boxers anecdote is the best part of this post :)

    1. LOL and it's absolutely true! I got them from Wired catalog years ago and they were advertised as Beatles boxer shorts (hence the whole Back In The USSR thing). The liars! :)