CHINESE NEW YEAR ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS & TEACHERS
WHEN IS CHINESE NEW YEAR?
In 2015, Chinese New Year falls on February 19 and it is the year of the goat according to the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. The celebration lasts for 15 days.
However, do take note that Chinese New Year has no fixed date. It is celebrated following the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is calculated on the time the moon takes to go around the Earth. Emperor Shih Huang Ti introduced the animal zodiac cycle. There are a total of 12 animals in the zodiac cycle. According to the Chinese calendar, it takes sixty years and five cycles of twelve years each for a complete cycle. Chinese New Year usually falls in either January or February.
Chinese New Year Dates and the related animal zodiac
HOW DO THE CHINESE CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR?
Spring cleaning is a must before Chinese New Year's Day. No sweeping is allowed on the first day of Chinese New Year as it is believed that you will be sweeping out all your goodluck or family fortune.
Family members will get together on the eve of Chinese New Year for is called the reunion dinner. This is the most important day of all. Some families prepare elaborate dinners while some will choose to have a steamboat dinner.
The steamboat dinner is a big pot of soup placed in the middle of the dinner table and lots of different kinds of foods like shrimps, fish, crabs, meatballs, fishballs, chicken meat, pork and vegetables are put into the pot of soup to cook.
All debts have to be repaid by this time. There should also be no lending on this day as it is believed that it will put you in debt for the whole year.
Everyone is encouraged to speak only good and nice things on this day. Using inappropriate language is considered bad luck.
Children also get away with their misbehaviour on this day. Parents do not want to upset their children or make them cry as crying on New Year's Day is considered unlucky.
It is advisable to start the day off by consuming a bowl of sweet dessert called "tong sui" (syrupy sweet drink) in Cantonese. It symbolises starting the year off sweet and pleasant.
The children will greet their parents and adults :
The meaning of "Gong Xi" is congratulations while "Fa Cai" means be rich or prosperous. All the above have the same meaning. They only sound different.
New clothes and shoes are a must for Chinese New Year.
The younger generation will go visit their elder relatives and friends too. Married couples, will have to give a red packet called "Hong Pow" containing money inside to those who are not married and also to their parents.
The hosts will serve their guests all kinds of cookies and the Mandarin Orange. The Mandarin Orange is a symbol of prosperity.
One of the things that most Chinese do during Chinese New Year is to play some card games. It is a favorite past time during this festive season of 15 days. The Chinese also like to set off lots of fireworks and firecrackers during this time. To find out the reasons for all the firecrackers and fireworks, go to our story section and watch the video of "Nian".
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