Have the dark and gloomy winter days gotten you down? Looking for a reason to celebrate this weekend and have some fun? Try celebrating the Chinese New Year and learn all about a new culture. Our family had a blast last year attending a Chinese New Year Party in Chinatown complete with a Lion Dance, stories, and incredible food. However, you can do some fun things at home to celebrate, too.
I did a little research online and learned that Chinese New Year celebrations last 15 days and end with the Lantern Festival. Each of the 15 days has a different tradition or activity as part of the celebration. According to several sites, New Years is the most festive holiday of the year in China and it's definitely a time to be home with family and fiends. A time to cook and enjoy food together. So, here's how you can have some fun at home.
Chinese New Year starts this Sunday, February 10th. Their calendar is different from the traditional western calendar because it is based on the lunar cycles of the moon. So, the date of the New Year changes every year depending on the moon’s cycle. 2013 is the Year of the Snake. The Snake stands for determination and persistence. People born in the year of the Snake are thought to be blessed with extraordinary inner strength.
In Chinese Astrology, every year is represented by an animal, within a 12 year cycle. The animal is said to represent certain qualities and depending on what year you were born or under which animal, it is believed that you exhibit the same characteristics. Here’s a good description of the Chinese Zodiac and the characteristics of each animal. For more information on Chinese New Years, Hellokids.com has some great kid friendly explanations.
Here are three ideas on how to celebrate the Chinese New Years with your kids.
1. Make a Good Luck Red Envelope
During Chinese New Years, it is traditional for parents and grandparents to give kids red envelopes filled with money or trinkets for good luck. It’s easy to make your own.
2. Make a Paper Chain Snake Craft
All you need is some construction paper and glue to make a super cute paper snake to play with or decorate the dinner table.
3. Read All About It
Here's a good list of 10 Kids Books about China and Chinese New Years. See if your library has any that you can check out for bedtime story reading this weekend.
For more fun, here are some other great craft ideas to help celebrate Chinese New Years with the kids.
Do you celebrate Chinese New Years? If so, how does your family celebrate the Holiday?
Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach, kids party planner, and weekly contributor to Patch.com. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, as well as her own family fun site ChocolateCakeMoments.com.