Summer Asian Festivals to Recreate at Home

People love international reasons to party.  The 2012 Olympics in London presents opportunities to celebrate cultural traditions from around the world.  Jacquie Downey, Director of Sales and Marketing at, a leading source for party decorations and Asian party supplies says, “The Asian culture gives us incredible festival ideas that can easily be recreated at home for more intimate gatherings with family and friends.”

Boryeong Mud Festival

“Mom and Dad will have to keep an open mind with this one,” says Downey.  “A mud party is a party to remember for a lifetime for everyone involved.”

The Boyreong Mud Festival takes place July 14 – 24 in South Korea.  Millions of visitors flock to the city of Boryeong for a festival where they literally make a mess of themselves in mud on the beach, while remembering mud’s many benefits for the skin.

Recreating this famous festival at home requires some creativity to get everyone involved. For the kids, it’s rather simple. Consider a mud pit in the back yard and watch their eyes light up when for one day a year, they are allowed and even encouraged to cover themselves in mud. For the women, have a collection of mud facial masks and let them pamper themselves for the day with a spa party.  Set up a mud-wrestling tournament for the men, and see how everyone involved can enjoy a good day in the mud.

Conclude your Mud Festival just as they do in South Korea, by washing up and shooting fireworks.  If fireworks are too big a task to take on, use sparklers and wind down the day talking about all your crazy experiences in the mud.

Songkran Festival

If mud isn’t your thing, maybe water is. The Thailand Songkran Festival takes place in Thailand’s hottest month, April, and is one of the world’s largest water fights.  Host a July Songkran Festival in the USA with pool party supplies.

Unlike the Mud Festival, Thailand’s festival focuses on the cleanliness of water.  “Think water balloons, water guns, sprinklers and even something as simple as the water hose,” suggests Downey.  “Have some good old-fashioned family fun with a giant water fight in the back yard, while also celebrating a popular Thailand tradition.”  Make sure your party drinks include personalized water bottle labels.

Chinese Lantern Festival

Each year in China, September begins a celebration called the Chinese Lantern Festival.  For most, the festival recreates the best of summer time fun in backyards.

“Chinese lanterns are beautiful,” Downey said. “What better way to spend time with family and friends than surrounded by these gorgeous lanterns in different colors and patterns?”

Hang lanterns from your porch, trees, or anywhere you can find. To stay with the theme, have a spread of popular Chinese foods. Invite friends and family over at dusk and give the kids glow party favors.  Have a relaxing evening in the beauty of your own yard.

Decorate Your Restaurant for A Chinese New Year

Even if your restaurant is not traditional Chinese, it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the Chinese New Year with your customers. All you need is a few changes in décor and menu to create an evening in the orient for diners. Did you know that the Chinese don’t clean their houses on their New Year’s Day? They don’t want to sweep out any good fortune. Don’t sweep out this opportunity to welcome new and current customers for a one night event, or the traditional 15 day celebration of the Chinese New Year. It’s the “year of the rabbit” beginning on February 3rd. Start by welcoming your customers with one of the many available Chinese New Year banners.

Take Customers on a Virtual Trip
Eating jiao zi or dumplings, is a Chinese New Year tradition because jiao zi is similar to an ancient word for “new” replacing “old.” Adding dumplings or noodles, another traditional food to ensure long life, will only go so far in creating the atmosphere. You need to make some additions to your restaurant décor. It’s easy and inexpensive to do. The work is done for you with an Evening in the Orient Decorations Kit and/or the Shanghai Moon Kit. Both kits give you versatile decorating choices and opportunities for display throughout the restaurant. You don’t need great decorating skills to put up some shimmering dragon whirls, giant dragon fans, and dress up the dining tables with chinese character confetti. Add a nice touch with the Shanghai moon centerpiece.

Turning Red Is a Good Thing
The color red is one of the luckiest colors in the Chinese tradition standing for loyalty, success, and happiness. Red modern lanterns and diamond lighted paper lanterns will show your lucky colors. Other unique choices include exquisite floor lamps and modern luminescent pedestal columns with fabric choices.

Don’t Forget the Wait Staff
Now get the entire house in order. Have your staff dressed for the occasion without making complete uniform changes. Consider the mandarin hat, or a combination with a coolie hat. Now they’re ready to make menu choices from the custom ordered Shanghai moon booklet. All you need to do is print up the menu and insert in the booklet.

Did You Remember The Kids?
The FU (pronounced foo) character means good fortune or luck in Chinese. Create-a-funtoo, a temporary tattoo. Kids love them! An on-line tool allows you to create the temporary tattoo with the FU character. Help the parents keep the kids busy before the food arrives with animal shape bracelets, which are popular with kids ages 3 and up! Maybe there’s a rabbit in the bag. Asian dragon personalized notepads let kid customers do their drawings on the pads with imprinted variegated pencils. The pencil shimmers and shines with every move. You can custom imprint the pads and pencils with your restaurant name, address, and phone information.

Now You Know You Can Do It
The Chinese New Year to China is like Christmas to the West. It’s spending time with family, gift giving, and the all important food fest. You and your restaurant will satisfy the total bill with very little work and lots of fun.

Try Your Luck with a Fortune Cookie Cake

Fortune Cookie CakeThe fortune cookie has an interesting history. First used in Japan as a temple tradition, its migration to the United States, subsequent evolution and marketing resulted in a version associated with Chinese restaurants but which is just about as American as apple pie!

At any rate, our offering today is a recipe for a Fortune Cookie Cake. This cake goes great with an Asian-themed party but also for going-away parties, retirement celebrations, and any other occasions where wishes for good luck and good fortune are in order. It’s also pretty easy to make.

Please note that the Fortune Cookie Cake requires a much larger cake pan than usual, but if you are baking for a small group you can certainly adapt the recipe for the more standard household 9” or 12” round pan.

  • Fortune Cookie Cake
  • 16″ round cake pan
  • Two white or yellow packaged cake mixes
  • Three 16 oz. Containers of vanilla ready-made frosting
  • An 18″ round “board” or plate – foam, corrugated, etc. – preferably black for nice contrast in display
  • Parchment or waxed paper
  • “Pooh Gold” Wilton™ paste or gel food coloring
  • One computer-generated fortune
  • Fortune Cookie Cake at PartyPrepare the mixes and the pan according to the manufacturer’s directions. Bake the cake according to directions on the package, but add an additional 5-10 minutes to the suggested time to bake. Because you are baking 2 mixes at one time, you will need to bake the cake for longer than the directions indicate. Check your cake using a toothpick inserted into the center every 5-7 minutes after the initial required baking time, and add more time as needed. All ovens bake differently, so add extra baking time in small increments.

    Allow cake to cool. Place cake on wire rack in freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    When removed from the freezer, place the cake on the cake board or plate after edging it with parchment or waxed paper strips for easy cleanup. Typically, a cake would be placed on the board upside down so that the top of the cake would be flat. For this cake, place the flat (bottom) of the cake directly on the cake board, so that the “bump” will be on the top of the cake. This gives the fortune cookie dimension. Cut a pie-like wedge out of the cake. Tint the vanilla frosting with the “pooh gold” food coloring. Frost the entire cake, then carefully remove the waxed paper or parchment strips.

    Create a fortune with a personalized message using a large font and the “landscape” page setting on your computer. Trim the page so that the strip is approximately 4″ wide. Using a knife, make a slit in the cake near the “wedge”, and slide one end of the fortune strip into the cake.

    We hope you enjoy the Fortune Cookie Cake! For more ideas, browse the Asian Party and Special Party Events catalogs at

    Decorate for your Asian Party with Chinese Take-Out Decorations

    Create a beautiful and festive setting for your Asian themed party or China Olympics themed event. The Shanghai Moon Kit is a perfect kit for transforming your venue into a fantastic Asian scene.

    Accent the take out boxes with an Asian Screen. It’s 11’ x 17’ and is composed by two sets of panels detailed with Chinese symbols and Asian patterned gossamer. Three symbols on the screen even light up!

    Set up the fortune cookies for another fun accent. The cookies are 2 1/2 ‘ x 3’ and look fantastic paired with the take-out boxes. Finish it all off with the Chinese Symbols measuring 2 ½’ x 2 ½’ and fantastic for setting around the edge of your dance floor or the edge of the party space.

    There are tons of decorating accents that go perfectly with the Chinese Take-Out Decorations. Place Chinatown Pails on your tables and fill them with confetti or favors for guests to take home they make functional centerpieces. The Chinese Character Mural is a great accent for your entrance, buffet table or other area. Add some Oriental Garden Lamp Posts for a soft glow and a sophisticated touch or the Chinatown Foil Dragon for a fun decorative touch.

    Don’t forget paper lanterns. Chinatown Paper Lanterns are a wonderful accent to hang from your ceilings or doorways. Lighted round lanterns are another great idea.

    Check out our other Asian Party TipZ for more decorating ideas.

    Activities for a Beijing Summer Olympics Asian Party

    Oriental Mini Party BoxesIf you will be holding your 2008 Summer Olympics party during the games or during the opening ceremony from China, you will need no activities other than food and a big T.V. for entertainment! If your event is prior to the actual happening in Beijing, then you may want to consider one or two of the following:

    • Play upbeat music that encourages dancing and celebration. You may also want to include several Patriotic numbers as well as the theme song from the movie about the 1924 Olympics, “Chariots of Fire”.
    • Divide your guests into groups and have them try to create a flag of a particular country. Assign each group a fairly unknown country (each group a different one) to see what they can come up with (not the UK, or Canada – no challenge in these!). Have a contest to see whose is most realistic, or how many other flags each team can guess.
    • Create an obstacle course for your guests to make their way through.
    • Divide the group up and have several relay races based on a summer theme. For example, have a swimsuit available that they need to run down to, dress up, and run back. Include flippers and a mask for extra fun!

    Don’t forget about favors for prizes. Tell us your Olympic party activity ideas!


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