Chinese New Year is the most important of the Chinese holidays. The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of New Year changes every year but usually falls around the end of January/ beginning of February. The Chinese calendar follows a twelve year cycle with each year named after an animal.
Within China people will buy presents, decorations, material, food, and clothing. It is traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness” or “wealth”. On the eve of Chinese New Year, the family will have a feast together and end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will receive money in red paper envelopes.
In China towns around the world you can watch the Dragon Dance which is performed outside of shops and restaurants to bring good luck for the coming year.
According to legend, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian who was afraid of the colour red and loud noises.
Activities for Chinese New Year
Have a ‘red day’. Eat red coloured foods such as apples, ketchup, strawberries, tomatoes. Turn the children’s drinks red. Make red play dough etc.
Let the children use chopsticks in your messy play tray
Eat Chinese food for lunch
Learn some Chinese nursery rhymes
My little baby, little boy blue
My little baby, little boy blue,
Is as sweet as sugar and cinnamon too;
Isn’t this precious darling of ours
Sweeter than dates and cinnamon flowers?
Come from the hill,
Your father and mother
Are waiting here still.
They’ve brought you some sugar,
Some candy, and meat,
For baby to eat.”
Old grandmother Wind has come from the East.
She’s ridden a donkey – a dear little beast.
Old mother-in-law Rain has come back again.
She’s come from the North on a horse, it is plain.
Old grandmother Snow is coming you know,
From the West on a crane – just see how they go.
And old aunty Lightning has come from the South,
On a big yellow dog with a bit in his mouth.
Products that can help you to explore Chinese New Year
Childminding Best Practice Club – themed packs
Join the Childminding Best Practice Club and get monthly packs of themed activities emailed to you. As well as art projects with templates, each pack includes a planning guide to help you plan around a theme.
Diversity Awareness Pack
Printable diversity craft projects and printable diversity colouring pages to help childminders to teach 20 diversity topics including disability, religion, race, families and multicultural holidays including Chinese New Year.