The Lunar New Year is almost here! Soon, families will gather to ring in the Year of the Dragon. Although you must have planned plenty of things to celebrate with your family, you must ensure the kids are also involved in the traditions. What better way to incorporate the little ones into them than to include some fun Lunar New Year traditions they will surely love? Here are ways you and your family can celebrate LNY together.
Let the grandparents share stories about the 3,500-year-old Lunar New Year tradition with the kids. Children will love listening to them as there is no better storyteller than grandparents. Ask them to talk about the legends related to the Lunar New Year, including tales about the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, the mythical Monster Nian, etc., to educate the little ones.
They can also read wonderful children’s books like “Lunar New Year” by Hannah Eliot, “I Love Chinese New Year” by Eva Wong Nava, “Our Lunar New Year” by Yobe Qiu, “Ruby’s Chinese New Year” by Vickie Lee, and Mindy Kim’s book series to talk about the importance of the festival in different Asian communities.
2. Practice calligraphy
Whether you are Chinese, Korean, or a non-Asian family, if you celebrate the Lunar New Year with children, make them practice calligraphy as it symbolizes good luck. Moreover, it will bring the kids closer to their roots and, for the non-Asian families, help the little ones embrace cultural diversity.
Parents, grandparents, and other family members can help the kids practice calligraphy, teaching them the meaning of each auspicious word. You can then hang them in the house or at your front door. The lines may be crooked if the kids are writing for the first time but don’t hesitate to display them. This will not only make the kids happy but will also encourage them to practice more.
3. Wear new red clothes
The red color is believed to bring good luck and even ward off evil spirits. So, buy some fancy red-hued outfits for your kids and let them flaunt their new collection in front of family members. And don’t forget to give your kids a new haircut for a fresh start to the coming year. If you want to amp up the fun Lunar New Year tradition, pick traditional outfits that will make your munchkins look as adorable as dolls.
4. Have fun making crafts
Let your kids get crafty this Lunar New Year. Make them learn the Chinese art of Jianzhi, a highly ornate paper-cutting art, or help them make red paper lanterns and dragons. You can also make all 12 Chinese zodiac animals with paper plates.
You can ask the kids to help decorate the house with red and golden balloons, lanterns, etc., to bring luck, joy, wealth, and prosperity in the coming year. Plan your own little dragon dance festival at home with your kids if you can’t visit one in your town. If nothing seems to work, give them the task of putting money in the red envelopes.
5. Make dumplings
The Lunar New Year celebration is incomplete without dumplings. They represent gold ingots, a lucky symbol for Chinese New Year. So, gather the kids and make dumplings together. However, if you are working with toddlers, don’t give them the meat fillings, as they might eat it raw. Just give them the dough to play with or make small circles. You can also ask your older kids to help you prepare the lavish feast for the reunion dinner for the Lunar New Year.
Lastly, set off firecrackers with the children (with proper precautions) to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Don’t forget to release glowing lanterns into the sky/river/sea with them during the Spring Lantern Festival to end the 15-day-long celebration. Which of these will you incorporate into your family get-together? Do let us know in the comment section below!