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:
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:
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:
Check out these books for more ways to share Lunar New Year stories:
To see how we celebrated Asian Heritage Month in 2020 and explore more cultural celebrations, click here, opens a new window.