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According to the Chinese lunar calendar, February 4th is the Chinese New Year! This year celebrates the Year of the Pig. The New Year is a major holiday in the Chinese culture filled with grand festivities. Sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival, in Chinese culture it’s the longest festival, sometimes lasting 15 days. This vibrant, joyful celebration is the perfect opportunity to explore and enjoy Chinese culture with your family.
Celebrate Chinese New Year around Lake County
Books about Chinese New Year
Guaranteed to be more entertaining than a Chinese restaurant placemat, The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey is a family-friendly read on just how all those animals found their way into the Chinese Calendar. Each animal, from a dragon to a monkey, earned their spot through a legendary race. Your child can find out where his or her birthday falls in the Chinese Zodiac and learn about other important festivals.
Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year by Kate Waters.
A non-fiction look at Ernie Wan and his family as they prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year. Kids will love the photographs and simple story-line.
The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine.
This book follows a 6-year-old as he sets out to the market to buy food for his family and returns with an old wok instead. School-age kids will enjoy the repeating patterns and similarity to the Gingerbread Man tales.
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns from National Geographic Kids
In this detailed reference book, you and your family can explore the facts about Chinese culture and the holiday. Accompanied by beautiful color photography, the information from this trusted source will answer all your questions.
Bringing In the New Year by Grace Lin
The fictional story told in this brightly illustrated children’s book is appropriate for all ages (available in board book format, too!). Prepare and celebrate the Lunar New Year with a Chinese-American family as told by a Newberry Honoree.
Emma’s American Chinese New Year by Amy Meadows
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with Emma, who was adopted from China. She and her family observe the holiday by participating in traditional customs and activities that honor Emma’s Chinese heritage-all with an American twist. Join Emma in her very own American Chinese New Year! This colorful, delightfully illustrated book celebrates diverse culture and the joy of international adoption in this colorfully illustrated book.
Activities to Celebrate Chinese New Year
The dragon blower seen above is a super easy project that we made at a library playdate, you probably have all the supplies at home! The body is a toilet paper tube wrapped in green construction paper (you could also paint it, but you would have to wait for it to dry). We then glued four green pom poms on – large ones on the back for the eyes and the small ones at the front for the nose. Attach googly eyes to the large pom poms (I’m a big fan of the sticker ones). Attach strips of tissue paper to the end of the tube.
Over at Scholastic, they’ve put together a great round-up of projects like this paper chain dragon to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Some even have video tutorials if you’re challenged in the craftiness department like me!
Celebrate at home with this fun craft from Red Ted Art:
It’s an easy craft for even the littlest hands and includes the free printable. See Chinese New Year Craft: Dragon Puppet at Red Ted Art.
Explore new cuisine with a healthy Chinese meal. Take this opportunity to cook together as a family. I find that my kids are much more likely to try (and like) new foods if they’ve helped choose a recipe and prepare it. Try Heather from Girl and Her Kitchen healthy and simple recipe for cashew chicken.
Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year
If you’re willing to venture into the city, Chicago’s Annual Chinese Lunar New Year Parade will take place on Sunday, February 10th at 1:00 p.m. The parade marches north along Wentworth from 24th Street towards Cermak. Bundle up to enjoy dragon floats in vivid color, lively lion dance teams, marching bands, and the 100-ft. long Mystical Dragon. Stay awhile to explore the shops and restaurants of Chicago’s Chinatown. During the New Year Celebration, participating restaurants will offer 15% off with this coupon.
Loralie recommends: street parking is limited; two pay lots are available at 21st and 24th and Wentworth but expect space to be limited. The CTA Red Line has a stop at Cermak-Chinatown as an alternative.
Chinese New Year Celebration
5 February 6:00 p.m. Grayslake Area Public Library
*Registration Required* Grades K-2 can welcome The Year of the Pig with stories and crafts as they learn more about the holiday celebrated by millions around the world!
Loralie’s family loves dim sum, which are bite-sized individual portions of tasty Chinese delicacies served up on small plates. Think tapas but Chinese-style, served hot and fresh from wheeled carts the servers bring to your table. Just point to what you want and make sure to share!
If all you need to celebrate is some really good take-out, check out the best Chinese restaurants according to our readers.
Gung Hei Fat Choi!
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