All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearFortune #CollectiveBias
We celebrate Chinese New Year in our home, because we adopted our daughter from China. It’s very important to us that she learns her culture of origin. She attends a school with Mandarin instruction, we read books and attend local cultural events, we are involved a few groups with other families with children from China, we eat foods from China, and we have Chinese decor in our house.
For Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival, we do several traditional activities such as spring cleaning of the house, getting hair cuts, hanging red decorations, giving out red envelopes, and having our new year meal. I also started two fun traditions in our house. Each year I gift my daughter a toy animal that corresponds to the new year. Here she is with her new Year of the Sheep stuffed animal.
We also set up a Chinese New Year tree. It’s a small (artificial Christmas) tree that we decorate with Chinese New Year themed ornaments, most of which are homemade.
It’s fun to make the new zodiac animal to add to the tree each year. I have a fun Year of the Sheep ornament craft for you. You can see it at the top of our Chinese New Year tree. The directions for this sheep craft are below.
- Gather your supplies: cardboard, 2 clothes pins, black paint, yarn, and black felt. I used red yarn for Chinese New Year, but you can use any color you want.
- Cut an oval/egg shape out of cardboard. Paint the edges of the cardboard and the bottoms of the clothespins. Let the paint dry.
- Glue the clothespins to the back of the cardboard to form the legs.
- Wrap your yarn around the body of the sheep until you have desired coverage and thickness.
- Make sure to use some glue in back to tack down your yarn during the wrapping process.
- Cut and glue a little ear on the sheep.
Red envelope giving is a lot of fun. These envelopes are filled with money and given out during holidays and special occasions. In Southern China, these are given by the married to the unmarried, typically children. Our kids love getting these envelopes. Our sons just want the money inside, but our daughter likes to collect the envelopes too. We’ve used envelopes to make ornaments on our tree.
I have created a free red envelope printable for you. It has the ‘Fu’ symbol, which means fortune or good luck. This symbol is associated with Chinese New Year and usually appears upside down on the entrance of the home, as a wish for prosperity to come into the home. I have put the Fu on the envelope pattern as a wish of good fortune for you. You can download the pattern here. Print it out on red paper. Cut, fold, and glue into an envelope. Can be embellished with gold accents.
The family’s favorite part of Chinese New Year is the meal. We get together with friends or have our own feast at home. Our meal is a mixture of traditional and our favorite foods. Traditional includes oranges or tangerines, both words are similar to the word gold in Chinese. Oranges are said to symbolize good luck and tangerines represent fortune. Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage, is green and represents luck or harmony. The yellow in the fried rice represents happiness or prosperity. We include red, which represents joy and good fortune, with sauces and plates.
This year we’re adding Tai Pei® Spring Rolls and Egg Rolls to our meal. These authentic rolls are make with delicious crispy wrappers, fresh vegetables, and hearty chicken, pork or shrimp. They come with a yummy red dipping sauce, but we also like them with our homemade sauce, which is an equal mix of soy sauce and rice vinegar. These restaurant inspired rolls are ready in minutes.
You can find Tai Pei appetizers in the frozen aisle of your local Walmart.
Does your family have a cultural holiday that you celebrate? Which holiday?