Make a wish, not a resolution.
The Chinese prefer making wishes instead of resolutions, leaving the real work up to the gods. Wishes are written on papers, in gold calligraphy, and hung inside and outside the home. Common wishes include “happiness” and “wealth”.
Bring flowers, but never white ones.
Flowers are usually associated with funerals in Chinese culture, except for the New Year celebration. Red is the most preferred color. But be careful, because each flower type represents a different thing. When in doubt, stick with orchids which represent love and fertility or peonies which represent spring and wealth.
Stick with red.
As you may know, red is the luckiest of colors for the Chinese. It represents fire, the sun, and life energy. Wear red clothing, but avoid black or white as they are associated with funerals.
Keep it even and 8 is great.
Chinese elders hand out lai see, or red envelopes filled with money, to the unmarried children. Even money amounts are preferred. Eight is the luckiest number, but four is to be avoided as it sounds too similar to “death”. If given lai see, accept with both hands, say a grateful “doi jeh”, and resist opening the envelope until the party is over.
The main part of a Chinese New Year celebration is the food. A bounty will be made, to feed the ancestors, a large family and guests, and for leftovers representing the food to be enjoyed all year. If you plan on bringing something, oranges, candies, and peanuts are all lucky snacks.
No cleaning, cutting, or breaking.
All the New Year cleaning is done before New Year’s Day. So don’t do any sweeping, or else you sweep away the good luck. Do not cut anything with a sharp edge or scissors. Many Chinese hair salons will be closed this day. Try not to break anything or else receive 7 years bad luck.
Wish a happy year of the Dragon.
2012 is the year of the Dragon. Dragons are marked by ambition and confidence, but also arrogance and anger. When wishing a happy new year, say “Gung hay fat choy” for Cantonese and “Gong Xi Fa Cai” in Mandarin, which translates to a wish of happiness and prosperity.
source: Good Luck Life by Rosemary Gong