Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally end after 15 days, starting on Chinese New Year’s Eve and continuing till the Lantern Festival.
This new year usually coincides with the spring equinox.
We usually try to celebrate the first evening with crafts and yummy food – either takeout or homemade.
Each Chinese year is associated with an animal sign according to the Chinese zodiac cycle, which features 12 animal signs in the order Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
Chinese New Year traditions include: putting up decorations, offering sacrifices to ancestors, eating reunion dinner with family on New Year’s Eve, giving red money envelopes and other gifts, firecrackers and fireworks, and watching lion and dragon dances.
Lucky food is served during the 16-day festival season, especially on the New Year’s Eve family reunion dinner. Fish is a must as it sounds like “surplus” in Chinese and symbolizes abundance. Dumplings shaped like Chinese silver ingots are shared as a sign of the family unit and prosperity. People eat Niángāo (glutinous rice cake) to symbolize a higher income or position as it sounds like “year high.”
Don’t lose the luck!
- Don’t sweep up on New Year’s Day, otherwise you’ll ‘sweep all your luck away’.
- Don’t eat porridge for breakfast, otherwise you’ll ‘become poor in the upcoming year’.
- Don’t wash your clothes and hair (on New Year’s Day), otherwise you’ll ‘wash fortune away’.
So thrilled about how these Dragon Puppets turned out for Chinese New Year!
- Paper bag
- Construction paper for head
- Construction paper for eyes and nostrils
- Streamers for the tail
- Glitter and Sequins (optional)
What to do:
- Fold sheet of construction paper in half and glue to top of paper bag (where it folds up) to make the head of the puppet
- Attach streamers under the back of construction paper head for the tail
- Cut out eyes and nostrils in desired shapes – semi-circles for eyes and teardrops for nostrils
- Draw lines for mouth and nose with dark marker
- Glue eyes and nostrils
- Draw on eyeballs in dragon shape
- Draw on eyebrows and facial expression (optional)
- Glue on glitter and/or sequins to make pretty patterns (optional)
(I think it would be fun to attach an accordion tongue with a strip of red construction paper so it pops out of the fold…)
Kate preferred to make hers look like a lizard.
Tori asked me to draw cool eyebrows on her dragon.
Alex used TONS of glue stick. Then he asked me draw his dragon face and I really like how it turned out and his compliments made my day. Then he pretended to fly around with it.
We’re preparing to celebrate Chinese New Year with lots of red and gold, horse pictures and crafts, yummy food…and I searched my files and found pictures of the Chinese New Year celebration we attended when we lived in Hawaii.
And I get a clean house out of it after I told the kids that tradition. Score!
We cleaned out the library of all the Chinese New Year storybooks. Liz really likes having Big Sister Storytime. Karen Katz is a favorite author. Love her illustrations!
- Mask crafts from Better than Mummy
- Learn more of the Chinese language with Mango Homeschool
- Read more books about Chinese New Year…
- As my kids get older, we watch movies in Chinese and about Chinese culture and history
- Eat Chinese Food: We’ll explore flavors, colors, shapes, and the aesthetic beauty of Cantonese cooking. My kids love Chinese food and we like to try new recipes and techniques. Our Asian turkey wraps are always a hit! I need to break out my bamboo steamer and try to make some steamed dumplings…Also easy recipes are lo mein and fried rice. Slow cooker Asian ribs are a crowd please.
I will try my hardest not to watch Mulan. Seriously.
Gong hei fat choy 恭喜发财
Xīnnián kuàilè 新年快乐