Chinese New Year of the Dragon

Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebration for 2012. They celebrate their holiday for 15 days.  Unlike in the U.S.A.,  where we maybe celebrate the night before with a party or fireworks and on the actual day of the New Year we often sleep late, eat black-eyed peas, and shop.  We decorate for the party, they decorate for the event and the Chinese decorations are symbolic and often edible.

Chinese New Year celebrations are based on the Chinese Zodiac, which is by year of birth rather than the monthly Astrology Horoscopes.  This year is the year of the dragon.  I remember as a kid, going to restaurants and all of us looking at the placemats and calling out which animal the other was and making growling or cawing noises at one another.  Most embarrassing to our parents but so much fun and laughter for the children!

If you want to recognize the Chinese New Year with your family, pick a day in the season of festivities (see 1st link for daily schedule) and then do some crafts together and review the education material provided here.  Check out Crafts and Activities for Chinese New Year webpage to find some interesting things to do.  You might want to check for a few good videos on YouTube as well to include in the educational part of the day.  Check out this singing video and encourage the kids to dance along just for fun.  If you want to know what the words mean, check out this sing-along cartoon that puts some of the words translated to English across the top.

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