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Celebrating Lunar New Year With Your Child

Mother hugging son during Chinese New Year

Happy Lunar New Year! Also known as Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration to recognize the coming year ahead. It is a major holiday typically celebrated by Chinese and other Asian communities all around the world. This famous holiday falls on different days every year. Lunar New Year begins on the first New Moon of the first day of the first lunar month and ends 15 days later on the Full Moon.

There are many different ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The teachers at New Horizon Academy have put together a list of activities to help your child learn about and celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year Paper Lantern Craft

Your child will have a blast ringing in the Lunar New Year with this fun paper lantern craft. Make your own paper lantern at home by following these five simple steps.

Supplies Needed

  • Paper Plate
  • Red Tissue Paper
  • Yellow Ribbon
  • Glue

Instructions

Chinese lantern paper lantern craft

  1. Rip the tissue paper into about 1-inch squares.
  2. Glue the pieces of tissue paper onto the paper plate, trying to cover as much of the plate as possible.
  3. Cut 8 strings of ribbon. (This symbolizes the lucky number in the Chinese culture.)
  4. Glue the strings of ribbon onto the back of the plate.
  5. Glue another string of ribbon to the top of the plate and hang to display!

6 Children’s Books to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Ruby’s Chinese New Year

Author: Vickie Lee

Rubys Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee

Ruby has a special delivery to make to her grandmother, a card for Chinese New Year! Ruby is unsure of who will help her get the card there. Along her journey, she meets each of the twelve zodiac animals. This books is a great introduction to the zodiac animals of the Chinese New Year.

My First Chinese New Year

Author: Karen Kutz

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Kutz

It is almost time to celebrate the Chinese New Year, hooray! The Chinese New Year is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. Follow along with a little girl as she prepares to bring in the new year and experience all the festivities and traditions. This book is perfect for your little one, as they can learn all about the Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Wishes

Author: Jillian Lin

Chinese New Year Wishes by Jillian Lin

It is Hong’s favorite time of year, Chinese New Year! Throughout this story, you and your child will follow along with Hong and his family as they prepare for and celebrate their favorite time of year. This books is a great example of the most important celebration in the Chinese culture.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

Author: Natasha Yim

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

Based on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this story is set in Chinatown as they prepare for Chinese New Year. Goldy’s mother requests that she takes some turnip cakes to her neighbors, but when she arrives, they are not home, but it does not stop Goldy from trying their rice porridge, their chairs, and their bed. This fun and festive book will be sure to be a family favorite, and it also includes a recipe for turnip cakes that you can try together as a family.

Dragon Dance

Author: Joan Holub

Dragon Dance by Joan Holub

This lift-the-flap book will be a favorite for your child. Throughout the interactive book, you and your child will learn about the Chinese New Year and everything they do to celebrate-from shopping at the outdoor market, eating a big dinner on New Year’s Eve, and attending the New Year’s Day parade. It is a great introduction to the customs on Chinese New Year.

Bringing in the New Year

Author: Grace Lin

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin

Follow along with a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Chinese New Year. Each member of the family has an important role to take part in as they prepare for all of the celebrations ahead. Your child will also love the surprise fold-out dragon on the last page of the book.

What is Your Chinese Zodiac Sign?

Chinese New Year zodiac signs chart

Help your child determine their Chinese zodiac sign with this Chinese zodiac chart. Each year is associated with one of twelve different animals including a rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

To help your child find their zodiac sign, first make sure they know which year they were born. Then, have your child find their birth year on the Chinese zodiac chart. Whichever animal is in the same column as their birth year is your child’s Chinese zodiac sign.

Rat: 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984

Ox: 2021, 2009, 1997, 1985

Tiger: 2022, 2010, 1998, 1986

Rabbit: 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987

Dragon: 2024, 2012, 2000, 1988

Snake: 2025, 2013, 2001, 1989

Horse: 2026, 2014, 2002, 1990

Sheep: 2027, 2015, 2003, 1991

Monkey: 2028, 2016, 2004, 1992

Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981

Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982

Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983

8 Popular Foods of the Lunar New Year

There are many different traditions and popular dishes that are associated with the Lunar New Year. Discuss with your child some of the common foods that are enjoyed during the Lunar New Year.

1. Fish

Fish is a traditional dish that is commonly enjoyed during the Chinese New Year. Often served whole, including the head and tail, a whole fish is said to represent a good beginning and end to the year.

2. Longevity Noodles

When cooking longevity noodles, it is important that the noodle does not break, as it is believed that longevity noodles symbolize life. Many believe that the longer the noodle, the luckier you will be in the new year. Sometimes longevity noodles can even be up to two feet long!

3. Dumplings

Dumplings are often associated with wealth. It is commonly believed that the more dumplings you enjoy during the Chinese New Year, the more money you will make in the coming year.

4. Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are another popular dish around the Chinese New Year. Because of their shape, spring rolls are said to resemble a bar of gold.

5. Chicken

Similar to fish, a whole chicken is another common dish of the Chinese New Year. It is also served whole to symbolize wholeness and unity.

6. Nian Gao

Nian Gao is commonly served on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Nian Gao is a type of cake that symbolizes good luck.

7. Tangerines

Tangerines and other citrus fruits are popular foods eaten during the Chinese New Year. Citrus fruits are said to bring good luck and happiness in the new year.

8. Sweet Rice Balls

Sweet rice balls represent unity and family togetherness. They are typically made using water and rice flour.

 

Happy New Year!

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