Always looking for ways to teach our kids about other cultures, we are gearing up to Celebrate Lunar or Chinese New Year with the kids! We are no experts, but it is a great way for all of us to get to know a bit about the customs, traditions and festivities that go into the Chinese New Year. To begin setting the stage we give some basics on the event.
We know that this is THE most important celebration in the East. Millions go back to their hometowns to gather together with family and friends. Our Chinese friends tell us that Chinese New Year has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is marked with a lot of food sharing. In ancient times, the festivities were held to mark the end of winter, and welcome Spring. With Spring, everything comes back to life after cold months. This is why some people call Chinese New Year the Spring Festival.
Our New Year starts on January first. Chinese New Year begins with the first day of the first day of the lunar calendar. This day varies from year to year. February 19th,2015 will be the start of the Chinese New Year, but celebrations start on New Year’s Eve followed by a big party on new Year’s Day. Celebrations last for 15 days. On the last day it all ends with the luminaries festival. Everyone sends off a luminary with wishes for the year that is starting.
Each year corresponds to one of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. We go by our day of birth to determine our sign while the Chinese Zodiac uses the year of our birth to tell someone’s sigh. This year is the year of the sheep.
The amount of traditions that are carried out are vast, and start well in advance from the 15 days of actual celebrations. Cleaning house and putting away knives is among the key things that happen before. During the celebration events you will find:
- people sharing big feasts
- everyone, specially children, looking forward to lucky red envelopes that hide money or trinkets
- fireworks are frequently displayed
- Mandarin trees are present in homes for good luck and are a traditional gift for hosts
- Red and gold are the colors of the season
- Lanterns and garlands decorate most places
It does sound like a lot of fun, and we are told that the noisier and the louder, the more fortune will come to you!
We are preparing crafts, food, DIY activities and red envelopes to get hands with this celebration and join in the millions who will be partaking of Chinese/ Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. We are even planing an outdoor movie viewing. Do join us as we will be sharing how we prepare and how we party! We will also be showing our #DisneySide at home with this celebration 🙂
By the way, the year of the Sheep affects us all, but it is the sign for those born in 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027.
Are you ready to explore Chines New Year with us? Are any of you sheep?