Written by Spotloan

From mid-November through January, it seems as if every day brings something to celebrate. And if we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that celebrating on a budget can be just as fun and festive as splurging throughout the season, if not more. 

Finding budget-friendly ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year, for example, makes the occasion more meaningful and memorable. And it makes the days that come after it a smoother transition into a fresh new year, with fewer feelings of guilt and falling behind. 

So, if you’ve been wondering, what do you do for Chinese New Year that won’t break the bank, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s start with the traditional: 

What is Traditionally Eaten on Chinese New Year? 

Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, lasts two weeks. This makes it easier for celebrators to take their time and enjoy the holiday, rather than rushing to cram everything they can into one day. This holiday focuses on luck and prosperity. 

And it’s easy to spark those feelings by cooking or enjoying a festive meal at home with your family. Forbes’ list of six traditional Chinese New Year foods that bring luck and fortune includes: 

  • Eggrolls, which symbolize prosperity. 
  • Black mushrooms, which also symbolize prosperity. 
  • Whole fish, which symbolizes long life and abundance. 
  • Long-life noodles; the name speaks for itself. 
  • Whole chicken, which symbolizes a favorable start and finish to the year, as well as family and rebirth. 
  • Lotus seed, which symbolizes fertility. 

Make some holiday treats at home with your children this Chinese New Year for a festive and affordable celebration. 

What Should You Wear on Chinese New Year? 

During any Chinese New Year celebration, you’ll see plenty of bright colors. This festive, upbeat holiday features lots of creativity and bright-colored clothing and decorations, which boost our moods and have additional symbolic benefits. 

Red, China’s symbolically good luck color, is said to scare away the spirits of bad fortune. If you want to dress the part, wear something red or colorful and avoid wearing white or black clothing during the celebration. These are traditionally considered mourning colors. 

Thankfully, many of us have drawers or closets full of bright colored or red clothing to wear, saving us the expense of buying a new outfit each year. But if you don’t, you can always take a trip to the closest thrift store and pick something out for a fraction of what it would cost new. 

Find Free, Local Festivities 

From activities to full-blown festivals, there are plenty of ways to celebrate while spending little to no money. Check your town’s Facebook page, other social media sites, and local newspapers for upcoming events in your area. 

If there are no events in your area, but you’re willing to take a day trip, many towns even host parades, complete with bright, colorful floats and fireworks. And, be sure to mask up while participating in any event with a volume of attendees.

Participate in Spiritual and Educational Activities 

Chinese New Year is a very spiritual holiday, with a heavy focus on protecting our homes from evil spirits and bringing good fortune to our families. In areas like these, there is always more to learn, more ways to honor those who came before us, and ways to build new traditions with the people we love most in this world. 

Make a list of relevant activities that you know you and your family will enjoy. Spiritual activities, like group prayer, and educational activities, like going to museums, reading books, or watching festive movies and documentaries together are a few good examples. 

Choose a different activity, event, or meal throughout the two weeks of Chinese New Year to extend the festivities and make the most of your time together during this special season. 

Gather with Family and Friends 

Like most holidays, this one relies heavily on quality time spent with family and friends. Invite your favorite people over to enjoy a festive meal, learn more about the holiday together, play games, or participate in other Lunar New Year traditions

Make colorful decorations, find a virtual traditional dance or fireworks show, or visit a temple together. Whatever activities you choose, the important thing is that you are spending meaningful time with your loved ones. And it is getting easier and easier to find at-home Covid testing kits that can give you some peace of mind before those highly anticipated get-togethers.