All of last week we learned about Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year because other countries besides China celebrate it), since the New Year date was on 2/19/15. The new year is always held sometime between the end of January and the end of February, and is based on the moon.
We started off by talking about how we celebrate our New Year in the United States. Then we read these three books:
I thought that Bringing In the New Year was the most informative out of the three books. It also kept the boys engaged. At the end of the book there is a bit about the history of Chinese New Year written in a kid friendly manner. After we read the three books we compared the similarities and the differences between Chinese New Year to our New Year.
Another day we started making these dragon puppets, but the boys weren’t interested in coloring them, so that project didn’t take off :(.
One Chinese New Years tradition is to give kids money in red envelopes (hongbao). I thought that it would be fun to make some origami red envelopes and give to my boys. I followed this great tutorial:
I made small envelopes because I only had small red paper and I figured that my boys would be happy receiving a quarter. On the envelopes I added the Fú symbol which means “good luck” or “good fortune.”
Here is one my finished envelopes:
On Chinese New Year we went out for Chinese food. We wished our waiter “Happy New Year” and she was surprised that we knew about it.
On the weekend we went to Chinatown to the Chinese Garden to celebrate the New Year.
First we went to the Wishing Tree where we each got a ribbon with a gold piece tied to it. We were supposed to throw it on the tree and make a wish. All of us got our ribbon to stick with the first throw. Other visitors were not so lucky :).
Next we looked at all of the red lanterns hanging throughout the gardens (very pretty). At about this time the Lions came out to dance! The Lion Dance is done during the Chinese New Year to ward off evil and bring good fortune. Many people mistake the lions for dragons, but one easy way to tell if it is a lion is to see how many legs it has. The lions only have four legs (two dancers) and the dragon has more. We all really enjoyed the dance very much (the dancer’s seemed to get a great workout)!
After the dance we went out to visit the Sheep pavilion, since it is the Year of the Sheep/Ram. As a fun fact, my zodiac sign is a sheep. My husband’s is an Ox and supposedly we do not make a good match 🙂 One of my sons is a Tiger and again the Sheep and Tiger aren’t supposed to get along well.
Gung Hay Fat Choy! Xin Nian Kuai Le! 新年快樂!
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