This is the most important holiday of the year for Chinese people and has been celebrated for more than four thousand years. Dating from 2697 B.C.E., it grew out of ancient celebrations marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The date is determined by the Chinese lunar calendar so it varies every year, but is typically celebrated in late January to early February. In China, the celebration lasts for 15 days but we usually just dedicate a day or two to the celebration.
We start by cleaning and decorating the house with lights and paper lanterns. For dinner we made homemade pot stickers using a recipe from Family Fun magazine. They were a big hit! During dinner we read books about the holiday and how it is celebrated in China and around the United States. After dinner we listened to Chinese music and made our own dragon masks ending the evening with a parade around the living room. We also gave the boys a good luck red envelope filled with money (a traditional activity done at Chinese New Year). Prior to this celebration, we had a "Family Values Night" where we learned about and did a comparison Venn Diagram about the major religions of China, Buddhism and Taoism.
- Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
- Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
- Buddha by Demi
- The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao te ching by Demi
- One World, Many Religions by Mary Pope Osborne