Celebrating the Chinese New Year With Children Adopted From China


Chinese New Year Parade

For those of you who have adopted from China, you probably know that the Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.  The Chinese year 4708 begins on Feb. 14, 2010, and it is the Year of the Tiger.

Whereas many of us will be celebrating Valentine's Day on the 14th, here is an opportunity to take part in another holiday, one of tremendous significance to millions of people around the world.

The Chinese New Year celebration offers a wonderful chance to help your children embrace their heritage and their culture, and it can become a fun family tradition for everyone.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the Chinese New Year with your kids:

  • In Chicago, attend the free celebration of the Chinese New Year at Navy Pier in the Crystal Gardens on Sunday, Feb 14th between 12-5:30 pm.
  • Also in Chicago, join in the New Year's parade that will take place at 12:30 pm on Sunday Feb 14th and will run on Wentworth from 24th St. to Cermak Rd.
  • Clean your house or your child's room together, in order to sweep away bad luck and make way for good luck in the coming year.
  • Prepare a celebratory feast for your New Year's Eve dinner and enjoy it with friends and family.  This is the most significant event of the New Year's celebration.
  • The next morning, give your children a gift consisting of a red envelope with chocolate coins or money inside.  Give even dollar amounts, because odd dollar amounts are given at funerals.  A popular number to give in the U.S. six or eight dollars.
  • Make loud noises to scare away the bad spirits.  In China, many families set off firecrackers.  A safer or easier alternative might be to bang on drums or fill a jar with beans and shake the beans to rattle away the mythical ghosts.  You could also have your child decorate two paper plates, then staple them together with dry beans inside, and shake the plates like tambourines.
  • Eat Mandarin oranges, which are the most popular fruit during the Chinese New Year, to symbolize sweetness and good fortune
  • Eat uncut noodles, to symbolize longevity.
  • Wear red clothes to frighten away the mythical Nien, a beast that was believed to steal food and livestock and attack children. By wearing red and decorating your house with red, you will prevent the Nien from appearing.  Red symbolizes joy.
  • Hang red paper decorations from your house and windows to welcome in happiness, prosperity and long life.

Good luck and Happy New Year!

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