The Year of the Rooster is fast approaching and Chinese New Year celebrations are sparking the most unusual things.
Gung Haggis Fat Choy stands for “Happy New Year” in Cantonese AND the traditional Scottish dish, haggis. Why is this important, you ask? Because if you’re going to be getting in on the Chinese New Year action with your groups you need to appear like you actually know what the Chinese New Year is. In British Columbia, the 18-year-old Canadian version of the Chinese New Year is a compilation of kilts and bagpipes and traditional Chinese traditions and rituals. Generally a 15-day celebration, Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Chinese New Year (this year, beginning on Jan. 28th) is celebrated throughout the world, making it an interesting option for groups looking to de-stress, expand their horizons and have some fun in the process. Here are a few ways to get in on the good times without the good grief.
Wake Up the Day
Viewed as the Chinese zodiac animal who is in charge of time, Roosters wake up the day with a confidence and energy that says, “bring it.” Roosters generally enjoy social events and being at the heart of the action, and New York’s celebration festivities deliver just that. Check out the Firecracker ceremony in Chinatown this Saturday. The Empire State Building will also shine red and gold.
Remember All the Traditions & Avoid Taboos
Chinese New Year has a lot of traditions to remember. For instance, families wear brand-new clothes—mostly in head-to-toe red—red envelopes with money are exchanged to scare off bad spirits and the loud bang of fireworks or firecrackers are also ignited to rid evil. The New Year also comes with a long list of taboos. Your group would be wise to avoid taking medicine (the forecast is a year full of ills if they do), doing laundry to honor Shuishen, the Water God, and certainly do not use a broom, doing so will sweep any and all wealth right out the door.
Hang Your Wishes
Honoring the hopes of your group for the coming year is a must-do during Chinese New Year and Gung Haggis Fat Choy. Consider having attendees write down their dreams and hang them on your host city’s Wishing Tree, an ancient symbol of good luck and fortune. You can also create a smaller version of this for intimate events.
If All Else Fails, Hypnotize Them
In China, citizens get a three-day public holiday to participate in the Chinese New Year festivities. Taking in one activity at a time instead of trying to see everything at once allows attendees to actually enjoy their time at an event. Same goes for meeting planners. Multitasking—i.e. watching TV while sending out an email—can lead to inefficiencies and more problems down the road. If you happen to be in London during Chinese New Year, take your group to the parade. Its colorful, hand-crafted floats and music, dance and acrobatic shows are sure to hold their gaze.