Getting ready for Chinese New Year

There’s only two weeks left for Chinese New Year! This is going to be my first time spending it in Suzhou so I hope we can do something interesting. My mother in law says there is a temple fair and the traditional lion dances, let’s see if we can attend without being crushed to death by the crowds. I actually have no idea how crowded Suzhou is during the holiday. All the people that live in Suzhou but are from somewhere else will leave, but maybe there will be tourists from other parts of China visiting us.

The other day I went to a new supermarket that opened recently nearby and it was already in full Chinese New Year mode. Right by the entrance there was a section with new year decorations:


Sorry for the bad quality, I just noticed the picture is blurry. But maybe you can see that next year’s animal is the pig! There are plush pig toys above and paper pigs to paste on your front door for good fortune. The long paper pieces with characters are also to be pasted on both sides of the door. I have everything ready to be pasted on New Year’s Eve! They will replace the paper dogs we currently have.

The whole supermarket was decorated with red paper lanterns and garlands. The first banner says: Street of the New Year products.


And what exactly are the New Year products? Well, they can be… anything! In China, many people work and live in a city that is not their hometown, and when they go back “home” for Chinese New Year, the custom is to bring edible gifts for family and friends. Nowadays, even if you live in a small village you can basically get anything online, but people still like buying boxes of milk, candies or nuts to bring back to the hometown. Notice how all the boxes on the left side of the previous picture are red. They contain normal, everyday products, but “dressed up” for the holiday! As the main activities during Chinese New Year are watching tv and eating, and as most shops are closed during the holiday, it makes sense to stock up!

Candies and chocolates in bulk to fill your own bag. These are offered to the legions of relatives and friends that visit you during the holiday.


Chips Ahoy and Oreo with a CNY special edition package. They came in a tin box that I liked, but I never eat this kind of cookies so I’ll pass…

These are a popular brand of rice crackers, also with CNY packaging.


Another tradition is to wear new clothes and they have to be red. I have never followed this custom as I only buy clothes when I need them, so I will just wear an old red jacket. But I did get a special Chinese New Year outfit for Baby A.!

I really like it, it’s very warm and soft so he will wear it the rest of the winter too!


Chinese New Year is truly the equivalent to Christmas: it’s all about eating and the official colour is red!