LEGO has often released seasonal sets with reference to major celebrations in Europe and USA, namely Valentine’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas. Therefore it was pretty surprising to “seasoned” fans when LEGO announced two seasonal sets for the Chinese market in 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner and 80102 Dragon Dance.
The boxset contains 5 packs of LEGO elements, 2 baseplates, and an instruction manual + sticker sheet. Amazingly, a total of 34 printed elements are in this set which are mostly utensils and various dishes on the dining table
For the curious, this is our guess on the printed pieces : (hints from the set description helped on some of these)
1st Row – Bowls with golden trim
2nd Row – Chopsticks and Spoons, Rice, Red Packets
3rd Row – Soup, Crabs, Fried Chicken, Tang Yuan, Meatballs/Shiitake Mushroom
4th Row – Fish, Shrimp, Vegetables, Spring Rolls, Chinese Dumpling (Jiao Zi), Chinese Rice Cake(Nian Gao)
The start of the build focuses on the exterior of the house where you will find a garden with a stone path that leads to the main door of the house which has a upturned “Fu” sticker. Funfact from wikipedia :
When displayed as a Chinese ideograph, Fú is often displayed upside-down on diagonal red squares. The reasoning is based on a wordplay: in nearly all varieties of Chinese: the words for “upside-down” (倒, Pinyin: dào) and “to arrive” (到, Pinyin: dào) are homophonous. Therefore, the phrase an “upside-down Fú” sounds nearly identical to the phrase “Good luck arrives”. Pasting the character upside-down on a door or doorpost thus translates into a wish for prosperity to descend upon a dwelling.
The facade of the house is further decorated with traditional red Chinese lanterns decorations and the door is flanked by two large round windows with metal geometric grilles and what looks like ventilation holes up top. LEGO has also decided very aptly to include an outline of the roofing. It really completes the scene very well. The build continues on to the interior of the house where bookshelf, picture frames, a TV table and an armchair is built up along with a door carpet and a table carpet. Besides some classic stud to antistud and a little of side building for the bookshelf, the windows with grilles are constructed by slotting in the grilles behind the openings and then keeping them still with strategically placed curtains.
At the far end of the room, you have a little armchair for Grandpa and a TV build, it is here that you find a few other Chinese New Year decorations, more specifically spring scrolls/couplets represented with stickers on tiles. We have a Chinese speaking friend to thank for translating them for us:
Top : 吉祥如意 – Jíxiáng rúyì – All things are blessed and will go as intended
Right : 一帆风顺年年好 -Yīfān fēngshùn niánnián hǎo – Everything will go smoothly and well year after year.
Left : 万事如意步步高 – Wànshì rúyì bùbùgāo – Everything will go as intended gradually, step by step
The build ends with the interior being filled up with the dining table, various utensils, dishes and bowls of rice, two flowerpots and a lampstand. All six chairs are built on a turntable so they can rotate on the red 2×2 plate. The bright orange yellow round plate on the table also acts like a “Lazy Susan” and can be rotated easily for the dishes to reach each individual family member. The main dish, the fish is also placed on jumper plates. As our Chinese speaking friend kindly lets us know, the dinner dishes are sometimes chosen for their traditional symbolism. For example, the main dish, a fish, normally the most expensive dish is symbolized by the saying 年年有魚 – Nián nián yǒu yú – which is once again a wordplay as the word yú are homophones to both “fish-魚” and “surplus-餘” and gives a translation of “May every year be full of fish” or “May you have more than you need, year after year) .
Two red packets are also provided in this set. Red packets are traditionally given out by married relatives to the younger unmarried generation and contains coins or cash during the Lunar New Year. Here is a wiki entry on it
On the topic of the family members, we have six minifigures in this set, namely, Grandpa, Grandma, Father, Mother, Son and Daughter. All torsos are exclusively printed for this set with Mother being the only minifigure with leg printing (on the skirt) while everyone has dual printed expressions on their head except for Mother and Grandfather.
The final build is really well done and the extra attention placed on the top and sides of the build to with the curves placed at the right places make it resemble a direct cross-section view of a typical Chinese family house. The existence of 34 printed pieces is pretty awesome as well. We have no problems putting this set
There are some minor gripes for this set. Firstly, the need for both children to stand on their chairs for dinner (as they don’t have the new bendable kiddo legs) and the decision to give a nice “qipao” look to the Mother makes her unable to sit down for dinner too. Secondly, the awkward 1×6 brick behind the armchair to hold the geometrical grille in place is also pretty puzzling to us as they could have gone with Tan/Reddish brown to match the armchair colour scheme.
However, these are minor gripes and as we have mentioned before, this set is full of charm and we foresee this set being a HOT set so we hope LEGO has made enough copies for everyone.
This 80101 Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner is exclusively distributed in various countries in the Asia Pacific. Here are the prices across countries as well as the official set pictures.