Xin Nian Kuai Le:: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Houston

 

The Lunar New Year is hands down every Asian kid’s favorite holiday. Sure, Christmas is fun because of the presents, but on Lunar New Year, you get something even better… cold, hard cash! Gifting red envelopes, aka hong bao, is just one way that Lunar New Year is celebrated.

Books and Crafts to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

As implied by the name, the date of the holiday changes every year based on the sun and moon cycle. This year, Lunar New Year falls on Saturday, January 25. In my past life as a kindergarten teacher, I was often tapped by my teammates to plan the Lunar New Year unit. I always began with a read aloud to explain what Lunar New Year is all about. A few books from my personal library that I absolutely love are::

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My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin

 The Great Race by Emily Hiles.

The Great Race explains the history behind the zodiac animals; similarly, this video is another great resource to bring the story to life. Kids absolutely LOVE to tell others what animal sign they are! Click here if you’re not sure what your zodiac animal sign is. 2020 is the year of the Rat and there are so many fun craftivities online to keep your little ones occupied. I really liked the ideas compiled here and I think my preschooler will have a ball making little cone mice for her fingers.

Bring on the Lunar New Year FOOD

Gong Shi Fa Cai:: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Houston

Now that we have the history part down, let’s move on to the best part of celebrating Lunar New Year— the eating!! Eating well {read:: a LOT} and with family is such a huge part of everyone’s celebrations. Several dishes are usually served at dinner and often include the following:: steamed fish (for prosperity), dumplings (for wealth), noodles (for happiness and long life), sticky rice cakes AKA mochi (again for prosperity), and fruit (for a full life). One of my favorite things to do with my family every year is to sit together at the kitchen table, chatting and wrapping dumplings. What a yummy tradition!

If you don’t feel like firing up your wok, though, that’s perfectly ok! You really don’t have to because we have so many amazing restaurants right here in our hometown! Click here for my personal Yelp bookmark collection of favorite Asian eateries around the city if you need an idea or two.

Gong Shi Fa Cai:: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Houston

Catch a Dragon or Lion Dance Show

Gong Shi Fa Cai:: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in HoustonAnother fun way to celebrate LNY is to watch a dragon or lion dance. Traditionally, these dances were meant to chase away evil spirits and bring in good luck for the upcoming year. Little kids may be startled by the loud cymbals and shouts, but your older ones will definitely love the excitement of the show as the “dragon” and “lion” jump, hop, and weave their way through the crowds with the smiling xiao chou {clowns} at their sides. Not sure where to catch a show? There’s a great, free show put on at the Chinese Community Center every year. See details here.

I hope this guide has been helpful to you and provided you with some resources on how to ring in the Lunar New Year with your family. May all of your celebrations be filled with laughter, happiness, and making new memories with the ones you love most.

Gong xi fa cai, hong bao na lai! {I wish you prosperity in the new year, now hand over my red envelope!}


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One Response to Xin Nian Kuai Le:: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Houston

  1. Ashley KB
    Ashley KB January 24, 2020 at 1:39 pm #

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

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