The Chinese New Year is a great holiday to choose to celebrate Chinese culture with your child. Here are few fun ways to bring a bit of fun and culture into your home through the festivities of the Chinese New Year.
- Add a lucky red door. Red is a traditional color of luck. It's an important part of the Chinese New Year to focus on doing what one can to bring about good luck for the New Year. If you don't want to paint the door red, how about wrapping it up like a present with red wrapping paper. If changing your front door's color is not workable, how about the door to your child's bedroom?
- Eat. A huge part of most cultures is that of food and the Chinese New Year is no different, it's eating jiaozi at midnight on New Year's Eve, or longevity noodles on day seven of the festivities to bring about long life. The Chinese New Year celebrations mean many fancy meals that your child will enjoy.
- Create a lantern. Sara Naumann, the Guide to China Travel, shares a bit about the legend of the Lantern Festival or Yuanxiao, which occurs on the last day of the Chinese New Year festivities. It's a story that includes an emperor, a young woman who misses her family, and tricking the God of Fire. Your kids should love this story. After sharing it with them, or while reading the story, enjoy making your own paper lantern to display.
- Give lucky money. The Guide to Mandarin Language shares that another very popular tradition during the Chinese New Year is that of the gift of red envelopes with money in them. These gifts are given to children and usually follow a bit of superstition in that the money needs to be given in even amounts and never contain unlucky numbers, such as four. Therefore, four dollars is not a good gift. The envelopes are also decorated with lucky symbols and New Year wishes.
- Give a small gift. The giving of simple gifts is also an appropriate way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. What better gift than that of a children's book about the Chinese New Year or the Chinese Culture.
- Make some noise. Just like in America, the Chinese use firecrackers in ringing in their New Year. In the Chinese culture it began as a way to scare away any demons that threaten to bring a profitable and lucky New Year, but today it's also about excitement and fun. Consider setting off a few firecrackers of your own, if allowed in your area. If not, make a cute firework picture with a bit of glitter and glue. A pretend firecracker is another great craft that could also be considered a festive way to decorate your New Year table.
- Sing Happy Birthday to your dog. The second day of the Chinese New Year is considered the birthday of all dogs. Why not allow your child to throw Fido a birthday celebration? Perhaps an extra ride in the car or new chew toy is in order? I know my dog would appreciate a few extra belly rubs too.