Finally, our last Winter holiday to celebrate is the Chinese New Year. This year it will be celebrated on February 5th and will be the Year of the Pig. This is a very important holiday for the Chinese. All the family members will gather together. There are parades, fireworks, plays and feasts. Children are given red envelopes filled with money for the new year. People decorate their homes with red – the color of good luck! To ensure prosperity for the New Year, there are certain things that you must not do on the new year.
- Don’t say any negative words!
- Don’t break ceramics or glass.
- Do not clean or sweep – make sure to have all the cleaning done before the new year!
- Do not visit the wife’s family (That is saved for the second day of the year. To visit sooner brings bad luck to the marriage!).
- Do not demand debt repayment.
- Avoid fighting and crying. Don’t take any medicine.
- Do not give new year blessings to someone still in bed!
Avoiding these actions is supposed to help usher in a prosperous new year. Some of our favorite ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year is to make masks, lanterns and of course paper dragons! This site has some great masks you can print and cut out for your own Chinese New Year mask. All 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac are included in this free download. Make sure to print out on card stock for best results! Lantern making is one of our favorite activities! There are simple lanterns for the younger crew and more complex lanterns to challenge the older kids. Whether you string these together for a fun garland or hang them all about the house, they make for a festive and fun decoration. Bonus points if you decide to decorate your lantern with Year of the Pig drawings. Here are some basic instructions for the simple lantern.
- Using red construction paper, fold the paper in half on the short side of the paper.
- Measure 1” from the end of the open long side of the folded paper and mark the line with a pencil. This is your ‘stop cutting’ line.
- On the opposite side of the folded paper from the line you just drew, measure 1” increments along the folded long edge. These are where you will use the scissors to cut the ribbons of your lantern.
- Using scissors, cut along the folded edge to the ‘STOP’ line you marked at each of the 1” marks
- Decorate your lantern along the bottom or top using gold ribbon or red ribbon, beads or other paper.
- Make the lantern shape by connecting the long ends of the paper with a staple or tape.
- Use a ribbon or another piece of 1” paper for a handle and connect to the inside of the top of the lantern and hang as you please!
No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without a lucky dragon! There are so many different crafts on how to make these and several templates that you can use. Red Tent Art has a neat paper plate twirling Chinese Dragon craft that is quick and great to do with little kids. Do a search for yourself to find a dragon you want to make to bless your home, or just get creative!
I hope that reading about all these wonderful celebrations will inspire you to explore the Winter holidays around the world with us! I found some great resources from Teachers-Pay-Teachers that have made this endeavor so much more manageable. I will include links at the end of this blog post if you would like to check them out for yourself. I have also included links in each of the paragraphs providing more information about each of the regions and have tried to make sure to include links to recipes as often as I could. Enjoy your trip around the world!
A wonderful document from Teachers-Pay-Teachers to learn about Christmas celebrations around the world. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Holidays-Around-the-World-Christmas-Around-the-World-Christmas-Activities-1003689
And here is another that I downloaded:
I also found this resource to be a great help in getting information about Christmas around the world. I have the link going to the USA but there is a list of countries on the left side of the page where you can select any country you would like to learn about.