How to Celebrate Lunar New Year With Your Kids!

By Julia Bauer
Two Asian children celebrating Lunar New Year with lucky money envelopes

Lunar New Year is Feb. 10 – a time to celebrate the first new moon of the lunar calendar and Asian culture. The celebration lasts 15 days, ending on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, according to Britannica. If you don’t already celebrate Lunar New Year, take some time to learn about its history, culture and how to celebrate! With that being said, here are four ways to celebrate Lunar New Year with your kids.

新年快乐 or “xin nian kuai le,” pronounced sheen-nian kwai-lah, means “happy new year” in Mandarin! It literally translates to “new year happiness” and is a common phrase to say to others on Lunar New Year.

Learn about your Chinese Zodiac Signs

The Chinese Zodiac, also know as Sheng Xiao (生肖) or Shu Xiang (属相), dates back over 2,000 years to ancient archetypal animals, according to the Beijing Center. This year is the year of the dragon!

The 12 Chinese zodiac animals – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig – are in a cycle that represent different years in China, according to the Beijing Center. It is believed the animals influence one’s personality, fortune, career and more.

Click to enlarge the chart and find out your Chinese Zodiac sign based on your year of birth.

Read more about your Chinese Zodiac here!

Chart by Journalist Katharina Buchholz, Statista.

Enjoy traditional food

Traditional Lunar New Year food has significance, according to the History Channel. The food brings luck and fortune into the new year. Chinese dumplings (also known as pot stickers) are commonly consumed during Lunar New Year because their shape resembles that of a Chinese gold or silver ingot, according to the History Channel. Eating these serves as a symbol of bringing wealth into the new year.

Women making pot stickers

Other common lucky Lunar New Year food (according to the China Highlights website):

  • Good fortune fruits, such as oranges
  • Tangyuan (sweet rice balls)
  • Spring rolls
  • Longevity noodles
  • Niangao (sweet rice cake)

Make your own red lucky money envelopes

Hongbao (meaning red bag), or red envelopes, are scarlet-colored paper pouches filled with money, according to the Chinese Language Institute (CLI). Hongbao is typically associated with Lunar New Year. It has been an important ritual in Chinese culture since the 10th century.

The red color represents good fortune and protects from evil spirits, and gifting someone a red envelope is a symbol of transferring good fortune and blessings, according to CLI.

Learn more about the history and how to properly gift Hongbao here!

People passing a lucky red envelope

Making your own Hongbao is a fun craft and great way to learn about the traditions associated with Lunar New Year. Click to expand the guide to learn how to make your own DIY lucky money envelopes!

Grab some red construction paper and follow the guide to cut and fold it into an envelope. Then, write “Happy New Year” on the front.

Finally, write a note, put it inside and give it to someone special!

You can also click here to download and print the guide from Scholastic.

Read about it

Reading is another wonderful way to learn about and celebrate Lunar New Year. The books below illustrate the cultural traditions – such as the food, dances, stories and other festivities – associated with Lunar New Year.

Ultimately, celebrating Lunar New Year with your kids is a great way to learn, have some fun and celebrate not only the first new moon but also new beginnings. Xin nian kuai le!

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