Monday, February 10, 2014

Celebrating Chinese New Year!

As part of our ongoing study of China, we were very excited to celebrate Chinese New Year!

(We originally planned to have our studies on China finish with this celebration and then move on to a new country, but we find that we're not yet ready to part ways - so we are going to study China through the end of the year. We will then start the new school year in May with a new country!)

There are many ways to celebrate this 15-day festival, and we wanted to do as many as possible - which took quite a bit of time!

We started on the first day of Chinese New Year with a New Year's feast! We made:
  • Chicken = for wealth!
  • Apples = for peace!
  • Long noodles and vegetables (cabbage) = for long life!
  • Almond cookies

We decorated with some of our books on China and some of our China crafts.

Additionally, we wanted to give the children the traditional red envelopes that Chinese children receive on Chinese New Year. I made some homemade envelopes by copying the characters for "Happy New Year" onto red construction paper. 

But then we received a wonderful surprise! Two hours before dinner, we got a package in the mail from a cousin who knew of our China studies - real Chinese red envelopes! How awesome! We ended up using both. The 7yo received money, and the babies got suckers.

The dinner was a huge hit! The 7yo was wildly in favor of the proceedings, and we had a great time. 

Then the following week, we attended a Chinese New Year Festival in town. It was really awesome! We got to see several cultural performances, including Chinese pop music, traditional Chinese music, Chinese folk dancing, professional yo-yo performances, and others. The 7yo got to be on stage as a volunteer during the yo-yo show!

We also got to see the famous dragon dance, which was a big hit with the kids:

Second dragon not pictured here, but they dueled bravely.

We also got to stroll through the booths and see lots of things which have been only in books until now: Chinese art, fans, Chinese umbrellas, bamboo plants, Chinese lanterns, silk clothing, chopsticks, etc. The 7yo was thrilled, and he took every opportunity to say "Ni hao!" to passersby, regardless of whether or not they understood him!

Chinese New Year was a big hit - it may be with our family as a permanent holiday!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

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