Celebrating Chinese New Year with Children

Written and created by Anna Keddy, Marketing & Communications Co-op Student with Halifax Public Libraries

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year, is a time for families to come together and celebrate the rich heritage of Asian culture. Every year, the holiday is seen as an occasion to honour family ancestors and deities, as well as ring in the new year with wishes of good luck, wealth, prosperity, and happiness for all.

To help your kids better understand this unique cultural celebration, we’ve collected some fun activities to help welcome in the new year.


Explore the Chinese zodiac

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the year of the Ox. In total, there are 12 Chinese zodiac animals that are symbolic of each year. This includes the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

The animals are a large part of Chinese astrology and folklore, and have been seen as significant figures for centuries.

Check out these picture books to learn more about the Chinese zodiac:

The Race for the Chinese Zodiac

The Great Race


Cook traditional treats together

In Asian culture, there are certain dishes that are eaten on Chinese New Year that are considered to be lucky. This includes dumplings, whole fish, rice cakes, fresh fruit such as mandarins, and more.

By sharing these dishes with family and friends, it is seen as a sign of good luck, wealth, and a long happy life.

Explore fun recipes and snacks that you can make together with these cookbooks:

Chinese Feasts & Festivals

Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts


Create Chinese-inspired crafts

Another way to celebrate Chinese New Year with children is with fun crafts. There are plenty of iconic creatures and characters to make and draw, including paper lanterns, zodiac animals, and firecrackers.

Kids will have fun exploring a bunch of colourful designs and patterns, while also learning about the unique meanings behind colours in Chinese culture—like the lucky colour red!

Here are some craft books to get started:

Celebrate Chinese New Year With Paper Crafts

Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year


More books

Check out these books for more ways to share Chinese New Year stories:

My First Chinese New Year

Maisy's Chinese New Year

Peppa Pig

The Runaway Wok

Mulan's Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year


To see how we celebrated Asian Heritage Month in 2020 and explore more cultural celebrations, click here, opens a new window.

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