Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is on February 12th this year!  A fun way to celebrate is to do some Chinese New Year crafts with kids!
A little background-
There are 12 Chinese Zodiac animals and this is the year of the Ox.  The Great Race is an old Chinese fable explaining how the order of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals came to be. 

 

Once upon a time, the Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) ordered that animals would be designated as calendar signs and the twelve that arrived first would be selected.

Rat got up very early. On his way to the heavenly gate, he encountered a river. He had to stop there, owing to the swift current. After waiting a long time, Rat noticed Ox about to cross the river and swiftly jumped onto the Ox.

The diligent Ox did not mind at all and simply continued. After crossing the river, he raced towards the palace of the Jade Emperor. Suddenly, the Rat jumped off the Ox and dashed to the feet of the Emperor and became the first lucky animal of the Chinese zodiac.  Ox became the second. 

Tiger and Rabbit came third and fourth because both are fast and competitive, but Tiger was faster.  Rabbit got across the river by hopping on stepping stones and a floating log.

Good-looking Dragon was fifth and was immediately noticed by the Jade Emperor, who said Dragon’s son could be sixth. But Dragon’s son didn’t come with him that day. Just then, Snake came forward and said Dragon was his adoptive father; so Snake ranked sixth.

Horse and Goat arrived. They were very kind and modest and each let the other go first. The Jade Emperor saw how polite they were and ranked them seventh and eighth.

Monkey had fallen well behind. But he jumped between trees and stones to catch up to become the ninth.  Last were Rooster, Dog, and Pig.  *Adapted from  hereand here.

The 12 animals of Chinese zodiac in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Chinese Red Envelopes – DIY

Chinese Red Envelopes or ‘hung bao’ symbolize good luck and prosperity for the New Year.  These are usually handed out to children, employees, and single family members during Chinese New Year and are received with both hands since it is a gift.  Inside red envelopes you would place brand new dollar bills.  You also never put in sums of 4 which is believed to be bad luck rather sums of 8 which signify good luck.  

In the past I have made these red envelopes or ‘hung bao’ for my kids to bring to school however with no exchanges or celebrations allowed in school this year I thought it would still be fun to make these for my kiddos.I remember those being one of my favorite things when I was a child during our Chinese New Year visits to our older relatives and getting chocolate coins, candies, and money in our lucky red envelopes.  You can also find these at your local Asian grocery store.  They range from very elaborate and colorful to plain red with gold writing.

What you’ll need:
Red paper

Printer to print this template

Glue stick
Scissors
Chocolate coins or money

Print out the template and cut it out.  Fold along all the flaps.  Glue down the bottom flap and along the middle to create your envelope.  Stuff the red envelope and place a sticker or small piece of double sided tape to hold down the top flap. 

 

Chinese Paper Lantern Craft


Hanging and lighting lanterns is a way to pray or wish for a good year, good fortune, good luck, etc.  People tend to hang these lanterns on the first day of the New Year and take them down at the conclusion of the Lantern Festival.

The Lantern Festival is the conclusion of the Chinese New Year festivities and is celebrated on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The Lantern Festival is also the first full moon in the Chinese calendar.  The celebrations include lighting and watching lanterns, lion dances, dragon dances, firecrackers, lantern riddles, and eating round dumplings made of glutinous rice flour ‘tāngyuán’  which translates into soup round.  The Chinese believe that the round shape of the dumpling symbolize being whole and together as a family.

Print the Chinese Paper Lantern template

-Fold in the template and piece of colored paper in half.

Line up the bottom of the template with the edge of your paper.

Cut across the top for the handle.


Make your own paper lantern!  This is fun and easy Chinese New Year craft is one of our favorites.

What You’ll Need:

-Colored Paper

-Printer

-Glue/Stapler

-Scissors

 

What To Do:

Print out my paper lantern template and fold in half.  

Fold you colored paper in half too.

Line up the bottom edge of the template with your colored paper.  Cut off across the top for the handle.

Cut along the dotted lines but do not cut all the way through.

Glue the edge of one side and bring around to complete the circle or staple in place.

.To create a handle take the strip of paper and glue or staple the edges to the top of the lantern.

That’s it!  Hang to decorate your home@

 

Cut along the dotted lines.

Overlap the edges and glue or staple in place.

Take the remaining strip of paper and glue or staple the edges on the lantern.

Chinese Zodiac

This is a fun wheel to print out for the children to see the Chinese Zodiac animals and find out theirs.  Just locate the year and your Chinese Zodiac animal.  Print out this template

I hope you found one of these Chinese New Year crafts with kids fun to do!  Check out some of my other free printables and let me know if you make one.  I would love to see!

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