January 31, 2014

Celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year!

2 minutes
Cultural exchange

Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. According to the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Horse begins today and New Year celebrations continue for the next 15 days and ends with Teng Chieh, the lantern festival on the full moon. Observance of traditions during the holiday ensure good luck and families pay respects to ancestors, gods and spirits and wish good fortune for friends and relatives in the coming year.

Explore your local Chinatown

If you live nearby a local Chinatown, sign up for a walking tour of the neighborhood or attend the local Lunar New Year parade full of dragon dancers, steel drummers and firecrackers. Local museums and Chinese community centers may host lion dance and traditional music performances, story times, art galleries, or craft workshops. Don’t forget  to indulge in some delicious food! Popular New Year’s meals can include dumplings, rice cakes, or longevity noodles and each dish often carries symbolic meaning.

Create your own tradition

Create red envelopes called hongbao, which are typically given to children from parents, grandparents or other relatives. The red color symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. The envelopes traditionally hold money, but you can create your own spin on the tradition by filling them with chocolate coins or notes wishing each other luck. It may be nice for kids to preserve the tradition of the envelopes due to growing trends of this gift-giving happening electronically!

Go on a virtual trip to China

Borrow books from the library to read about Chinese New Year and other folktales and fables.
A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story by Yu Li-Qiong
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
The Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker
The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy
Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds