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January 31, 2014
Travel Tips

10 Things I Learned About Chinese New Year

From all of us at Hyatt, we want to wish you a very happy Chinese New Year! It’s celebrated all over the world in locations with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as in Chinatowns across the globe.

Travel is the best way to learn about different cultures and customs. Connecting with my colleagues worldwide has truly helped me learn and appreciate them. Here are 10 things I’ve learned about Chinese New Year:

  1. An essential celebration of the Chinese New Year are red lanterns. Locals hang red couplets on their doors, which are intended to bring luck to the household for the coming year.
  2. As the story goes, people were terribly scared of a fierce monster, Nian, but found that the cracking sound of firecrackers frightened the monster away. While the story has faded, lighting firecrackers continues to be part of the unique celebration to welcome the New Year.

    Chinese New Year firecracker

    Lighting firecrackers is a common practice for New Year celebrations.

  3. Lions represent joy and happiness, and the traditional Lion Dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business. That’s why lions dance in the lobbies of Hyatt hotels in China on the first day of the New Year.

    Lion Dance

    The Lion Dance

  4. China is home to diverse traditions that have evolved in various regions.
  5. Blooming plants symbolize rebirth and continued wealth and prosperity. The Hyatt hotel in Dongguan displays these plants, and oranges and tangerines are symbols for abundant happiness. In Beijing, Hyatt guests will see traditional peach blossom trees in the lobbies of Hyatt hotels. Some families in south China decorate with a kumquat tree.

    Chinese New Year plant

    Plants symbolize rebirth and good fortune to come.

  6. Fish is a must-have course for the annual reunion dinner on the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day, but it not eaten completely (the remainder is stored overnight). The Chinese phrase “may there be a surplus every year” sounds the same as “let there be fish every year.”
  7. In south China, people generally prefer rice cakes, while northerners give priority to dumplings for celebratory dinner.
  8. Pork knuckle covered with soya sauce is a traditional north-eastern dish during the New Year as it means endless prosperity, a theme commonly seen during the New Year feast.

    Suckling pig

    Sucking pig served at Grand Hyatt Shanghai

  9. The traditional dish of “Poon Choi” can be found in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Hong Kong.  Many Cantonese select “Poon Choi” as their first choice for the Chinese New Year celebration dinner, because “Poon Choi” brings together dozens of ingredients, including pork, beef, lamb, chicken, abalone, fish maw, prawn, crab, bean curd and Chinese radish.  There is a profound meaning for this scrumptious dish: rich, prosperous and auspicious.  People not only enjoy the taste, but also receive the satisfaction of having everything.

    Poon Choi

    Poon Choi served at Grand Hyatt Shenzhen

  10. The New Year is a time for families to reunite, and some Hyatt associates spend the festive season serving guests. To bring the Hyatt family together, hotels offer a taste of the Chinese New Year and a reunion dinner at associate restaurants, which feature a special menu on Chinese New Year’s Eve and the first day of the Chinese New Year.

    Mahjong

    Colleagues play Mahjong at Hyatt Regency Guiyang

If you’re visiting Asia sometime soon, all Hyatt hotels & resorts in the Asia Pacific region are offering discounts of up to 30 percent off the Hyatt Daily Rate. Click here for special offer details and the offer code.

Welcome the Year of the Horse!

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