So here you are, the day before the Chinese Lunar New Year, sitting in your favorite coffee shop pondering what your single self is going to do this Valentine’s Day.
A beautiful woman walks in and sits at the table next to you. You have the urge to talk to her, and much to your surprise the conversation goes beautifully. She seems interested in you and freely gives you her number. She even agrees to go on a date with you. You ask when she’s available and she says she’s only free Sunday night.
Oh, shit… That’s the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year and you’ve never missed a single celebration. What do you do?
Fortunately for you, the Chinese Lunar New Year offers several dating opportunities for Asian guys. For those of you who already have a girlfriend, the fact that Chinese Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day fall on the same week this year is an excellent chance to give your girlfriend a double-whammy date week with you; blow her mind twice and chances are she’ll blow yours in return. Even if you’re single, the high-energy environment of the Lunar New Year is a great way to start off a potential new relationship with a bang.
Some of the non-Asian people (read: white girls) reading this right now might be a bit confused. “What is Lunar New Year? Is that like Chinese new year?” In a word, yes. Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year are the same thing; China typically hosts the biggest celebrations, so in common parlance it typically gets naming rights.
But what IS the Lunar New Year? Also known as Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year is a celebration common to most of East and Southeast Asia (so the Koreans and Vietnamese, for example, do celebrate the Lunar New Year as well) that marks the beginning of the lunar (moon-based) calendar. Practices we associate with it today arose from keeping away the mythical, man-eating beast known as Nian by leaving out food, using the color red (he is afraid of red), and lighting firecrackers.
Many of us will return home to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with our families, but many more of us, separated by long distances, won’t have that chance. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on getting to celebrate this year, and you certainly shouldn’t have to celebrate by yourself, so indulge YOURSELF by starting out a great Valentine’s Day date week with a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. Especially if you’re still single, what better way to keep a new woman hooked on you than by amazing her with how incredibly creative date you are twice in one week?
Many women enjoy feeling included in a boyfriend’s foreign culture and irritated when he assumes they can’t (or won’t) understand, so if you’re going to be away from your family this weekend, take it as a chance to include your woman in your culture and blow her mind in one of the largest holidays on the entire planet using these three (cheap) date ideas before rounding out the week with an all-out Valentine’s Day celebration:
- Take her to a festival or temple celebration. Most Asian communities have some sizable Lunar New Year celebrations, with everything from food to bazaars to street performances. If you’re lucky enough to live in or near Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, etc., the entire Chinatown district might be closed off for a giant block party (San Francisco has a legendary Lunar New Year parade that is widely considered to be the largest in the world outside of China itself). Even if you give her that big box of Godiva chocolates she loves so much on Valentine’s Day, take this date opportunity to show her something she’s probably never seen before, something you can only show her at this time of year. She will have the opportunity to witness a dragon dance, fireworks displays, and good food. The lively colors, the sounds, the energy, there’s endless fun to be had. If you’re not fortunate enough to live in an area that is able to host this kind of celebration, you could always invite her over to watch CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala—it has SIX times the audience of the Super Bowl and is five hours of epilepsy-inducing displays.
- Buy some fireworks and have your own display. Some states have fireworks prohibitions, so try not to break the law. In states where fireworks are legal, most children eagerly anticipate the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve celebrations for the fireworks displays in their back yards. Bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles, mortars, sky shooters, I don’t know a single person I grew up with who didn’t enjoy having fireworks in the yard. It’s colorful, it’s loud, it’s energetic, and it’s going to make her feel young again. Even if your state doesn’t allow fireworks, many organizations will get a special permit for holidays; check in your area to see if there are any Chinese Lunar New Year fireworks displays and make a date night of it with cozy blankets and a picnic basket. There’s plenty of time to end the week with a romantic Valentine’s Day, so don’t miss this chance to start the date week out with a heart-stopping bang.
- Rent movies and prepare a Lunar New Year dinner—together. If you know her a little more or if you’d be more prepared for a low-key, quieter date night, you could always celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in your apartment. This is a cheaper alternative to the classic dinner and a date, and it’s more personalized. You could introduce her to some of the classics, like Bruce Lee or any of a number of Hong Kong action films. Or, if you’re not into old action movies, you could still prepare some good food to go along with what Netflix sent you this week. Look online or ask your mom for recipes like jiaozi or niangao, and have the woman get hands-on in the kitchen with you. There are few things that can break barriers between two people and start up a little romance than making food together, so use this as an opportunity to introduce her to some of your favorite foods that she may have never tried; they’re easy to make and for all you know she might be thrilled to find something new she can make for dinner. A lot of women like to prepare a fancy dinner for their man on Valentine’s Day; why not show her that you’re not a one-trick pony and you can do the same?
The Chinese Lunar New Year is something that few people outside of the Asian community get the chance to witness or have any ideas about, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to give your girlfriend (or a new woman, if you’re single) exposure to what’s probably one of the most original dates she will have ever been on.
Follow it up with a stunning, romantic, and amazing Valentine’s Day later in the week and you’ve set the stage for an incredible 2013 for the two of you.
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Xīn nián kuài lè!