Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, falls on January 28th in 2017. This event, celebrated in Chinese communities around the world and in several Asian countries, marks an excellent opportunity to bring world cultures and traditions into the classroom.
Chinese New Year is celebrated through an array of customs and beliefs intended to bring good fortune in the year to come. It’s a great jumping-off point for a discussion about Chinese culture tailored to grade level. You can talk about things associated with the celebration such as fireworks, music, and traditional foods like taro cakes, as well as practices such as exchanging gifts and red envelopes. This is also a good time to read Chinese folk tales, like Lon Po Po.
Compare and Contrast
Chinese New Year is quite different from the Western New Year celebration most American students are used to, yet both involve special foods, music, and good-luck superstitions. Have your students talk about their own New Year traditions, like eating black eyed peas, watching the ball drop in Times Square, and singing Auld Lang Syne. They can create a visual chart or a written essay comparing and contrasting these customs with those associated with Chinese New Year.
There are tons of adorable chicken and rooster craft ideas on the internet, from easy hand print art for preschoolers and kindergartners to wire sculpture for high school art students. Some of these crafts only require basic materials, like paint and construction paper. Others utilize recycled and repurposed goods like toilet paper rolls and egg cartons.
However you choose to celebrate the Chinese New Year, there’s no doubt that this rich and colorful holiday holds lots of excitement for students.