Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate with family and friends, enjoy delicious food, say hello to a new year, and bring a little luck into your life. It’s celebrated differently around the world, with countries like China, Vietnam, and Korea bringing some of their own traditions to the holiday. But across countries, one things that’s relatively consistent is the fact that people decorate their homes and businesses in honor of the holiday. We’ve rounded up several ideas for Lunar New Year decorations that you can buy on Amazon or Etsy. Some of them can even be DIY projects, if you’re feeling crafty.
But before putting up the lanterns and doorway hangings, you’ll want to tidy your space. Alyssa Chiang, co-founder of Lotus Magazine, shared some information about how her Taiwanese household observes the holiday. “Before decorating, it’s important to note that it’s not just about decor – it’s also about bringing in the new and letting go of the old, so it’s just as important to make sure to clean the house first.”
This year, the Lunar New Year will be celebrated on January 22, 2023. Read on to find out more about the Chinese zodiac, Lunar New Year decorations and how they’ll bring good luck into your life this year.
“Red slips of paper, called 對聯 (duì lián; couplets) with poems expressing positive affirmations and wishes for the new year are posted up on the sides of doorways, as pairs are considered good fortune,” explains Chiang.
Chiang says red lanterns are put up around Lunar New Year to keep away bad luck. “Decorations are traditionally red in color, because red symbolizes good fortune,” she says.
“Red firecrackers are put up, because according to legend, they are used to scare away the spirit that terrorizes villages during the Lunar New Year,” says Chiang.
“The 福 (fú; fortune) is typically seen in calligraphy on red squares of paper or on red paper cutouts,” says Chiang. “It is put up so that the character is upside-down, because the word for “upside-down” is a homophone for the word 到 (dào; to arrive). This is a symbol for the arrival of fortune into the new year.”
You can buy pre-made decorations, or grab some paper and a calligraphy pen to create your own Lunar New Year art.
Kathryn Read, whose business helps companies expand into Asia, shared that one meaningful decoration for Lunar New Year might be a red fish or lantern shaped like a fish. “In Mandarin, the word for fish is a homonym for ‘surplus,'” she says.
“In most countries around the region, mandarin oranges play an essential symbolic role, representing good luck and prosperity,” says Read. “It’s a tradition for visitors to exchange a pair of mandarin oranges with the head or a senior person of the household you’re visiting during Chinese New Year. This action of exchanging mandarin oranges is to wish the receiving party an abundance of blessings (good luck, wealth, good health, etc) for the new year.”
Even if you can’t get your hands on some mandarin oranges, you can display some artwork of the fruit to get into the spirit of the season.
These decorative knots can be hung as part of your Lunar New Year decor. They’re meant to symbolize good luck.
This year, you might notice rabbits incorporated into Lunar New Year decor. As you might have guessed, that’s because 2023 is the year of the rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac. And that’s good news for all of us! The rabbit is known to be the luckiest out of all the twelve animals, and symbolizes mercy, elegance, and beauty.
Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a freelance writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including sex and relationships, TV, movies, books, health, pets, food and drinks, pop culture, shopping, and personal finance. She regularly contributes to Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and YouGov, among other publications. When she’s not working, you can find her running, traveling, or scrolling TikTok. Follow her on Twitter.