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Chinese New Year Dinner Part Etiquette

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#1 Fat Amy

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:12 PM

We've been invited to a dinner party to celebrate the Chinese New year tomorrow night by some Taiwanese that work for DH.    

I never been to anything like this before but I'd assume that they would have some traditions. So is there something that I should or should not take? What should we expect? What should we wear? Are there any no no's?

Or am I just over thinking this?

#2 Expelliarmus

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:40 PM

Take oranges!

No seriously they bring good luck and you take oranges (or tangerines) when visiting at New Year.

And wear red, it's the colour of good luck original.gif

#3 Procrastinator5000

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:44 PM

They won't have any expectations on you to follow traditions, as you're Westerners. They just want to share theirs with you. I really wouldn't try too hard, just be really interested and polite about everything and show that you're enjoying it!

Having said that, take a big box of Ferrero Rochers  wink.gif  Everyone brings boxes of chocolate or biscuits to exchange at this time of year.

#4 CallMeFeral

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:47 PM

Maybe don't wear all white or black - think they are funeral colors or something?

#5 Expelliarmus

Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:57 PM

Yeah, they are.

#6 FEdeRAL

Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:14 AM

QUOTE (howdo @ 09/02/2013, 12:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Take oranges!

No seriously they bring good luck and you take oranges (or tangerines) when visiting at New Year.

And wear red, it's the colour of good luck original.gif

Bring even number of mandarins/tangerines/oranges. 2 is ideal really, because 4 in Chinese sounds like death. Usually your host will give you a couple of mandarins as you leave.

#7 Leafprincess

Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:34 AM

QUOTE (Procrastinator5000 @ 08/02/2013, 11:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Having said that, take a big box of Ferrero Rochers  wink.gif  Everyone brings boxes of chocolate or biscuits to exchange at this time of year.


#8 FizzlingFireboxes

Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:25 AM

QUOTE (CallMeProtart @ 09/02/2013, 12:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe don't wear all white or black - think they are funeral colors or something?

Oh crap, we have been invited out to have dinner with one of DH's clients tonight to celebrate with them. I only have a black and white dress that fits me that would be appropriate for a Chinese restaurant (33weeks preg) oh crap, better go shopping. original.gif

#9 Fat Amy

Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:11 AM

Thanks for your replies. Do you think a pink dress will be ok?

#10 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:48 AM

its just our immediate family this cny sad.gif

#11 FEdeRAL

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

QUOTE (Milmo @ 09/02/2013, 11:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for your replies. Do you think a pink dress will be ok?

Yes original.gif

#12 tibs

Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

My chinese relatives tend to give things like the gold ferrero rochers or the red lindt balls when they go visiting or for a meal with someone, gold and red are the lucky colours.

#13 Fat Amy

Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:56 PM

Also, I just realized its a new years party. Would it be too rude if we left before midnight? Just thinking of kids and babysitters.

#14 *LucyE*

Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

Is it at a restaurant or private residence?

Either way, leaving before midnight is fine.  It isn't like the 12am 1 January type new years celebrations.

If you want to take a gift, the suggestions of gold or red wrapped chocolates are good.

Black is a perfectly fine colour to wear.  Avoid white.  Red is ideal.  Use red accessories to go with the black dress if you like.

If the hosts have children under the age of 18, you can join in the token red packet gifting.  Put some cash (ideally crisp current year notes) in a red envelope (do not on any account use a normal white one).  Usually the denominations have to be even or something like that.

If you are going to a restaurant, put a small note (a $5 or $10) in a red envelope to 'feed' the dancing lions that usually come around.  It is acceptable to 'tease' the lion/dragon and make them work for the envelope.

ETA  most of the dishes served at a chinese new year banquet have a meaning behind it.  It is polite to try (or at least take some to put in your bowl/plate) all of the dishes.  It's about spreading good luck to all.

Edited by *LucyE*, 09 February 2013 - 02:07 PM.

#15 Lagom

Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

We go every year to BIL's IL's and we bring either mandarins/oranges, tinned biscuits/sweets or Ferrero Rochers.
Milmo, we never stay until midnight.  It's usually a lunch/afternoon thing that we go to.

Have fun!

eta You can get the little decorated envelopes especially for NY from your local Asian Grocer (if you have one).

Edited by amabanana, 09 February 2013 - 02:08 PM.

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