2. Decorating the home

Transcript item

Hi, I'm Jonathan and I'm going to show you some of my Chinese New Year decorations in my home in Hong Kong.

Happy Lunar New Year! And let me show you some decorations inside my home here in Hong Kong. I'm just going to do a bit of cleaning first. Cleaning's quite important because it's like washing away the bad luck of the old year, and you shouldn't clean during the New Year because that, that is like washing away the good luck of the new year and nobody wants to do that. OK, so let me hang my first decoration … and here, yes. This is a wish for good health. I'm just hanging it on the door inside my home here. And I've got another one to go next to it, this one. And this one is a welcome to the spring. I think that's quite nice. I think those look nice together. The writing … well, I wrote these and my writing's not very beautiful, but some people can write really beautifully. They can be really, really nice to look at. Yeah, I think that looks good.

I have a couple of other decorations too. This one that goes horizontally, this one goes above the front door in your, er, the front door of your home. This is a wish for safe coming and safe going. Yes, I'll put that one up later. And also on the front door goes this one. This one is a wish for good luck, but you'll often see it upside down, like this. And upside down it has a meaning of luck is arriving or luck arriving or luck coming here. Yes, so you'll often see that one upside down.

And I've got a few other decorations too. I've got these nice oranges. I got these from the market. They're really nice and bright and orange and round. And sweet – yeah, they're very sweet. Oranges are in season at the moment. They're very nice. And these are my flowers too. They're very bright yellow and a little bit orange. I really like them. They're nice and cheerful. Actually, they're not traditional flowers for Chinese New Year. More traditional would be orchids, but I don't have orchids, so I just added these to my decorations, even though they're not traditional. And I can show you this too, even though this is not a decoration. It's a red packet. Yes, so it's a little envelope, like that, and you put money inside to give to children in your family, for example, or maybe to somebody who you regularly receive a service from, such as a security guard or a cleaner in your building. Yeah, so I need to prepare a few more of those. 

OK, so if you're celebrating, I wish you a very happy Lunar New Year.

Decorating the home is a big part of the Chinese New Year preparations. In this video, Jonathan shows you some of his home decorations and explains what they mean. 

What about you?

  • Which decorations in the video did you like the most?
  • Do you have any decorations in your home, either for Lunar New Year or any other special occasion? Take a photo of one and tell us all about it. You can upload the photo with your comment.

* Please don't include any people in your photos (even if you can't see their faces) as it's not allowed under the British Council's data protection and child protection policy. We're sorry, but we won't be able to add these.

Average: 4.6 (5 votes)

Submitted by Liliya1951 on Sun, 18/02/2024 - 19:00


Good evenning!

I like all the decorations. The red strips of wish paper seem very attractive and colorful. But to be honest, I don't like that color in the house.
The best choice for me is flowers and oranges.

Submitted by Gabys-20 on Mon, 12/02/2024 - 15:37


Hello there!
I specially liked the decorations made with Chinese calligraphy because they have such a great message!
Actually, we celebrated the Lunar new year with my family here in Colombia (although we usually do not celebrate it, we wanted to try it). I cleaned the house and set up a beautiful red gold decoration using balloons. Also I put a bowl on a table with tangerines and oranges as you did!

What a wonderful celebration is the Chinese new year!

Submitted by chan myae myat… on Sat, 10/02/2024 - 17:04


I love all the decorations, especially the wishes because red is my favourite and lucky colour. In Myanmar, we decorate our house with bright light bulbs and candles during the Thadigyut Festival to symbolize the Buddha's descent from heaven. Like the Lunar New Year, we have 3 public holidays to spend time with family. The young people would also get pocket money by praying to their elders. Moreover, fireworks are only allowed during the festival. It is my second favourite festival in our culture.

Hi chan myae myat noe san,

It sounds like a joyful festival! When do you celebrate Thadigyut Festival? And if that's your second favourite festival, I was wondering, what's the first?


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by El_Khan on Thu, 08/02/2024 - 04:45


Hi . We also celebrate traditional new year day like this. But it starts at 20th of march and continues 4 days . It calls Novruz . At first, the whole house is cleaned like in the lunar new year. National holiday sweets are baked. We celebrate the holiday with our family am .

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Submitted by poso on Thu, 01/02/2024 - 08:52


I relly liked the decoration of flowers and oranges.
We use decorations on january New Year's celebration. In our country decorated green new year tree and little yellow chickens under it, are symbol of eternal life.

Hi poso,

Thanks, I like the flowers too, as well as cute little chickens! 

What kind of tree do you decorate?


LearnEnglish team


Thank you for your voice message! Do you decorate your home in this way too?


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Camihail on Tue, 30/01/2024 - 12:51


In the video I liked the decorations that were on the front door. The one that where written in English. The first one was for good luck and the second one was for welcoming the spring. Also I liked the Oranges that they use as decoration. I have in my home some office decoration. This are pencil holders, phone holders and cup holder. They are all 3d printed an I kie them because they are made by me.

Submitted by khuludaljoufi on Fri, 24/02/2023 - 11:51


Actually , I really like the flower and the tangerines 🍊 it is nice decorating . I have some flowers and balloons 🎈 and some Crackers
It’s our decorations in our home

Submitted by Wity on Tue, 21/02/2023 - 07:40


OMG when I saw you guys decoration, I really feel happy because you did decorate for Lunar New Year as a real local person. It's so nice and beauiful, I could have a vision of Tet's viberation. Thank you so much !

Hi Wity,

Thanks to you! I love my decorations. Did you decorate your home for Tet as well?


LearnEnglish team

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Submitted by stefherz on Mon, 13/02/2023 - 02:40


I actually liked all decorations. They are so simple and at the same time so appealing, especially because of the bright and intense colours. Does the colour red has any particular meaning? Because I noticed it to be a very dominant colour in Chinese culture, if I'm not mistaken. And why do people decorate their house with oranges and orquids? Is there any special reason?
I much identified with the cleaning tradition. For me, cleaning also represents a change of energy. And last but not least, I really liked the "red paket" tradition and the fact that one does not just present relatives, but the people that regulary work for them as well! A great gesture, because these people are often taken for granted and therefore not being noticed.

Hi Stefanie,

I'm not sure about the meaning of these things, to be honest. I just know that red is associated with luck and celebration, and that oranges are in season at this time of year. They are also a beautiful, vibrant colour. I'd like to invite anyone who knows more about it to please write a comment and let us know!

I think it's nice to give a little gift to people as well. 


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Jisaeva on Sat, 28/01/2023 - 19:47


My favourite decorations are candles - inside home, and wreathes with fir branches and cones - outside

Hi @Jisaeva,

I'm quite similar to you ... I love candles or fairy lights as decorations, both indoors and outside. I also like to use some natural resources like you suggested. I used to live in Hong Kong with my family and during Lunar New Year we used to decorate our house. Here's a photo of an arrangement that I did. Do you have any photos you could share? I'd love to see them!

~ Tina ツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Jamille Ipiran… on Mon, 23/01/2023 - 10:40


My favorite decorations are frames with nice phrases.

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Submitted by alessandraluciani on Sun, 22/01/2023 - 17:41


My favorites decorations are oranges