Celebrating Lunar New Year with Children

Originally written and created by Anna Keddy, Marketing & Communications Co-op Student with Halifax Public Libraries; January 2021. Updated January 2022.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Gung Hay Fat Choy! 

Chinese New Year or Lunar 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, 2022 is the year of the Tiger. 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 eaten on Lunar 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

My Shanghai : Recipes and Stories From A City on the Water

Vietnamese Food Any Day

Xi'an Famous Foods

Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking

Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts

Cradle of Flavor

Mooncakes & Milk Bread

Create crafts

Another way to celebrate Lunar 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 Lunar New Year stories:

My First Chinese New Year

Maisy's Chinese New Year

Bringing in the New Year

Baby's First Chinese New Year

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

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.