Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Top Ten Things to Do for Chinese New Year

Updated for 2015

Chinese New Year, known in China as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is just around the corner, on February 19th, ringing in the Year of the Sheep. Here are ten things you and your family can do to prepare for the most important celebration in the Chinese culture.

1. Clean & Decorate. Get the new year off to a fresh start by cleaning your room or your house, sweeping out last years bad luck. Set out bowls of oranges and tangerines - oranges represent money and wealth, and tangerines represent good luck. 

2. Read a Book. There are many great books about Chinese New Year, and Chinese folk tales to be found. You can find our favorite books about Chinese New Year here; Pragmatic Mom's round up of books for Chinese New Year hereour round up of Chinese folktales here; and a round up of Chinese folk tales by What Do We Do All Day here. 
3. Decorate with a Chinese Papercut. Red papercuts with symbolic designs and Chinese characters are used to decorate for the Spring Festival. You can find our tutorial and printable pattern for the character for Spring, in honor of the Spring Festival here.

4. Lucky Money Envelopes. Known as Lai-See and Hong Boa, these red envelopes contain money and are given as gifts, especially to children. You can buy some at Asian grocery stores or make your own. You can read more about them and find links to printable versions here

5. Make a Chinese Lantern. Decorate with easy to make Chinese lanterns. Find our tutorials for various lanterns that add festive Chinese flair here, here, here, and here.

6. Decorate with Fortune Signs. After you have cleaned for the new year, decorate with diamond shape paper good luck signs. Make your own in Chinese calligraphy and find a printable one here

7. Cook and Eat Dumplings. Because they look like ancient Chinese gold ingots, it is considered good luck to eat dumplings during the new year. Our go to recipe for dumplings, from Feeding the Dragon, can be found here

8. Make Noisemakers. Frighten off the monster Nian with your own noisemakers. Find out about the legend here and make your noisemakers with our tutorial here.

9. Craft a Dragon. In the Chinese culture, dragons are important beings of power strength and good luck. The dragon dance is an important feature of the Chinese New Year. You can read more about Chinese dragons here, the dragon dance here, and find a round up of dragon crafts here

10. Craft a Sheep. In the Chinese Zodiac, 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. You can find a round up of sheep crafts here.

I hope you find ways to enjoy your own Chinese New Year celebration. You can also find lots more information about this celebration on our Chinese New Year Page.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!


  1. It's so good to have you back!
    Will you be doing any or all of the above things this year? Is there one thing in particular that you think you will keep in your family traditions even when you have moved onto another country?
    I particularly like that about your family. Although we have learnt lots of historical traditions I don't think even one of them has filtrated into our own family traditions. What lovely memories you are giving your children.

    1. We are actually going to have a more relaxed Chinese New Year this time - partially because its difficult to fit it in with everyone's schedule! We will be making dumplings again, and I think that's the tradition we'll keep - they're fun to make and consume :) And I'm pretty sure the girls will want to receive money packets every year as well! The Chinese tradition that really resonated with us was the moon festival, so I'd like to celebrate that every year. Is it possible to have too many traditions??

  2. Thank you for sharing this at the After School Link Up. I loved learning more about the Chinese New Year through your post.


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