Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chinese New Year

We have many things to catch up on, but I thought I'd go ahead and post some of our celebrations for Chinese New Year since you still have 15 days to jump in on celebrating! :)
We are studying China for a couple of weeks, and it was fun to be able to time it with Chinese New Year!  So, most of our study this week has revolved directly around the holiday.  The boys have gotten really excited about it, which has been really fun.  Isaiah especially loves "events," so he has gotten really, really wrapped up in this!
The boys dressed in red and eager for our celebration!
We talked a bit about the preparations for Chinese New Year.  Isaiah found it especially fascinating that they believe that they need to get all their cleaning done before the new year, as any cleaning during the new year would clear out the good luck coming in.  He pointed out that, even though we don't really believe in "luck," we could still clean.  Yes, yes, we could! :)
There is also a fun infographic with lots of interesting facts about Chinese New Year, and a friend here had given us some coloring pages and good sheets of information.

We read about the significance of dragons in Chinese culture, which the boys found really interesting.  There is a great article Chinese Dragons Explained on Kid World Citizen.  We watched the youtube video linked in the post of the dragon dance.

We then made a Dragon Paper Craft.  (This site also has some nice printable coloring pages that are free!  Isaiah insisted on coloring a whole stack, and he took the initiative to tape them all to our living room wall!)

I found Paper Cutting Templates and tutorials to make these Chinese characters.  They, apparently, are the symbols for spring (left) and double happiness (right).  Isaiah really liked cutting these out and then seeing the whole character once the paper was unfolded.

 Since I have no idea how to read any Chinese characters, I am really hoping that the things we put up are actually nice saying, such as this one we found at a Chinese market that Isaiah insisted on hanging on our gate.

 We invited some friends over today for a little early Chinese New Year party.  Isaiah was scurrying around the house wanting to do more and more to prepare.  I think my whole house would have been covered in red stuff and tape if I hadn't sent him outside to play!

We certainly didn't do well making them fancy, but we had some shiny red paper that we folded to make red packets for the kids coming to the party, in following the tradition to give money in red packets.  Zeke loves to use the stapler, so he enjoyed his task of closing the envelopes!

 Isaiah heard me say that they often decorate with fresh flowers and was set on getting some.  We went for the next best thing with our felt flowers and arranged them with a few books and our red packets.

I'll write another post on our cooking adventures for this week, but here is just one to show our table with a few treats for the party (dumplings with dipping sauce, pineapple tarts, a tray of traditional treats that a very sweet friend gave to us!, and some oranges).  The small red thing sticking out of our candle is our best attempt at fireworks.  It shoots off sparks, kind of like a sparkler but bigger.

While we ate a few treats, we also watched the Chinese New Year Parade 2014 from Hong Kong, and then we took a minute to pray for China.

Each kid made a simple paper lantern and took home copies of coloring pages from our friend.

The boys are thoroughly enjoying the holiday, and it has been a really fun way to learn a piece of Chinese culture!

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