Monday, January 26, 2009

Chinese New Years – The Year of the Ox

In Cantonese we say, “Gung Hay Fot Toy!” which means Happy New Year!

Every year I would explain Chinese New Years to my students because they really didn’t have much information about it. I am always thrilled when my students eagerly ask questions and seem curious enough to learn about another culture. Many times I will see a cultural holiday on a calendar and try to do a mini lesson about it.

Here is some information that I remember when I was growing up:

Foods: In my family we always had chicken on this day because chicken symbolizes prosperity.
Superstitions: Our family cleaned the house spotless in preparation for the new year. On New Years Day we didn’t clean or take the trash out because you might throw out the good luck. Having a clean house supposedly meant that you would have a clean safe house the rest of the year.
Decorations: We had a lot of red things up because red symbolizes good luck. Firecrackers were set off to scare away evil spirits. Red envelopes with money were given to small children to symbolize lucky money. There was also a Dragon dance where young men would hold a big dragon head while others held the body of silk and there were drums to beat time.

The link gives some neat children’s activities to do on this holiday. I liked the magnet, the door hanger and the red envelopes. If you have time, I hope you try some of these activities.

Other links with interesting information and facts are given below:
Chinese New Years – great info on foods, decorations, superstitions
Chinese New Years (Wikipedia)
Chinese New Years (Infoplease)

Original image: 'Yum!' by: Claudia Scholz


Christine Archer said...

Happy Chinese New Year! We had a great party this weekend with my kids and lots of their Chinese friends. So much fun to adopt this tradition in my family.

loonyhiker said...

Christine: Glad you had a lot of fun. I think it is fun to learn about other cultures and traditions.