It’s super important to me and Johnny to properly celebrate Lunar New Year and maintain that part of our culture. Growing up, my Mom would start decorating a few weeks beforehand so we could get into the spirit. I know it’s not exactly easy to get some of these decorations online, especially in America. However, some of these items you can DIY! It’s the effort and intent that counts. Paying your respects to your parents and elders along with wishing for a healthy, joyous and prosperous year is what matters.
Before getting into how to decorate your home for Lunar New Year, I want to talk about a few of the customs we practice during Tet (Vietnamese for Lunar New Year). It’s important to thoroughly clean your home to ensure a fresh start for the new year. You also want the first person who enters your home when the new year starts (xông nhà) to be someone with positive energy. Plus, there are the lucky red envelopes!
1. Incorporate Red
Whether they are made of paper or silk, in Asian cultures, lanterns are a big part of decor in Asian cultures. Growing up as a Vietnamese American, I have fond memories of lanterns for the Spring Festival (for Lunar New Year) and the Mid-Autumn festival. Red is an auspicious color so you want to incorporate that into your home when you’re decorating for Lunar New Year. I got these red silk lanterns and the vendor sources them from Hoi An, Vietnam. This part of Vietnam is known for making the most beautiful lanterns. The vendor also has other colors and sizes available for other events, too!
Whether you use lanterns, couplets or other decor, include red to make sure you’ve got that luck to start off the new year!
2. Freshen up with blossoms
In Vietnamese culture, many homes are decorated with Ochna integerrima (Hoa Mai) or peach blossoms. Whether they are fresh or faux, it’s a way to freshen up the home and make it look festive. My Mom got her faux blossom branches from Vietnam and unfortunately, I can’t seem to find anything online, same with peach blossoms. However, if you go to local Asian grocery stores, churches and temples, there should be some available for sale! In the Dallas-area, we go to Saigon Mall!
Flowers including orchids and chrysanthemums are also considered lucky, so you’ll see homes decorated with these as well! If they bloom before the new year, even better!
In addition to blossoms, kumquats or oranges are considered lucky, too. Friends and family will gift these to each other to offer as blessings to Buddha and ancestors or to have around the home.
I’m not 100 percent sure our neighbors would be thrilled if we lit of firecrackers to ward off evil spirits, but hanging them on our door is a decent compromise! Back in the day, during Luanr New Year, many people would light fire crackers right at the start to keep evil spirits away. Now, firecrackers or fireworks are ways to invite good luck into your home and bring some cheer!
4. Hanging Decor
Similar to how we hang different Christmas or Fall decor with cute sayings, in Vietnamese tradition, we hang these for Lunar New Year! If you’re curious how to decorate your home for Lunar New Year quickly and on a budget, this is the way to go! Some of my favorite sayings are:
- V?n S? Nh? Ý – May everything you wish for come true
- Chúc M?ng N?m M?i – Happy New Year
- An Khang Th?nh V??ng – May you have a peaceful life full of health and wealth
- Ti?n Vô Nh? Ý – May money come to you like you wish
5. Red Envelopes
It’s tradition for Lunar New Year, you pass out Red Envelopes with money (preferably new or good condition) for good luck. Parents and elders usually gift them to younger kids and grandkids, older siblings give them to younger siblings and so on. Until you reach a certain age where you’ve been in the workforce and you also give Red Envelopes to your parents and elders.
The more traditional ones can be shiny with gold lettering. You can find these at the local Asian grocery store. I also found a few on Etsy I love!