From mandarin trees to firecrackers, find out what all the Chinese New Year decorations really mean
Every year, Chinese New Year is one of the biggest public holidays in Hong Kong, meaning that you can either stay here and watch the fireworks displays or sneak off for a short trip from Hong Kong. With beautiful decorations popping up across the city, find out the meaning behind these Chinese New Year decorations and discover what will help you bring in the most luck this new year.
Chinese New Year Decorations
1. Chinese Lanterns
Chinese red lanterns are typically used during the most prominent festivals like the Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. Though these lanterns are not as popular during Chinese New Year, you will still be able to find them hung outside of business establishments and home doors in the new year. Chinese lanterns are hung to symbolise happiness and are believed to drive out any bad luck. These are one of the most iconic Chinese New Year decorations that you’ll see across the city.
2. Chinese Firecrackers
Find Chinese firecrackers hung outside of many business establishments this Chinese New Year. These red and gold firecrackers are used to represent happy festivities as they are loud and start the year with a bang. Traditionally, the cracking sounds and noises of the firecrackers are lit in front of family homes and stores to drive and scare ghosts and evil spirits away.
3. Paper cuttings
Paper cuttings are designs cut out of red paper, and are typically glued on a transparent surface such as a window. These designs tend to be Chinese characters and images that are auspicious, such as fruits like mandarins and kumquat as well as zodiac animals that reflect the year. Each character, fruit, and animal has a specific meaning, many of them representing longevity, honor, wealth and prosperity.
4. Door Couplets
These red and gold banners have messages of prosperity, good fortune, good health and good luck. Door couplets tend to be indoors, in your living room or family room, but can also be found on the main entrances to homes, stores, schools, businesses and more.
5. Upside down Fuk (福)
The character Fuk (福) is translated to mean good fortune, and when it is placed upside down, the symbolism suggests that luck is being poured out onto the individual. The character is usually written on a diamond piece of red paper and placed on the main entrance of doors of homes and businesses. Get ready for good fortune pouring in and coming through the door!
6. Red Pockets
When it comes to Chinese New Year Decorations that everyone loves to see, these take the cake (and the cash!) Though red pockets are typically used as money envelopes by parents and married relatives to give to young children and unmarried youths to wish them prosperity and wealth, they can also be found as decorations on kumquat trees, orange and mandarin trees. They are used as a way to represent additional wealth, prosperity and luck.
7. Kumquat Trees, Oranges and Mandarin Trees
Kumquat Trees in Cantonese are phonetically transcribed as gam gat shu (金桔树), with the single character gam meaning – gold, and gat – translating to good luck. With this symbolism, kumquat trees, are often brought during the New Year and placed in many homes to welcome wealth, luck and prosperity into the family.
8. Cherry and Plum Blossoms and Orchids
The long and delicate branches of cherry and plum blossoms and orchids symbolise longevity, Spring and the renewal of life. As these flowers are first to bloom after the winter season, there are incredibly significant to Chinese traditions and Chinese New Year, as it highlights a new beginning.