Happy New Year! January 1st doesn’t have to be your only New Year celebration. This February, celebrate the Lunar New Year with fun activities for the whole family inspired by ideas from our Chinese au pairs!
Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is celebrated from the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month. The festival usually lasts about 23 days, and is the most important national holiday in China, with people generally getting an average of 8 days off of work. 2015 is the year of the goat and February 19th marks start of the Lunar New Year.
The Chinese Zodiac calendar corresponds with one of 12 animals each year. The animals are supposed to predict what the year will be like. 2015 marks the year of the goat. The animals align with personality traits, so people born during a year of the goat are considered to be dependable, intelligent, calm and charming.
Help your kids find out what animal corresponds with their birth year. Some restaurants have calendars, or you can find our your zodiac animal online based on your birth date.
As a part of Lunar New Year tradition, elders often give children “lucky money.” The money comes in red envelopes and is intended to ward off evil spirits. For a math lesson, you can teach your children about different currency. Look up the current exchange rate to find out how many Chinese Yuan they could get for one U.S. dollar.
There are many great books to teach your kids about the Chinese New Year. Check out The Dancing Dragon by Marcia K. Vaughan about Chinese New Year traditions. This neat book tells the story of how the dragon arrives during the New Year’s parade.
The 15th day of the New Year marks the Festival of Lanterns. In China, streets become filled with lanterns and performances. Dancing dragons perform in front of office buildings because the dragon represents prosperity and good luck. For a fun craft idea, you can even make your own paper lanterns. Use our craft template and decorate the house with Chinese lanterns.
Keep the Lunar New Year fun going throughout the month of February. Find out about celebrations in your area. The kids will love the bright and festive parades and activities that are celebrated in Chinatowns throughout the country!