Hello everyone! Happy February and Chinese New Year 2016 is one week away from now!
Chinese New Year is celebrated all over China and southeast Asia. Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) is a time to spend with family and wish luck and happiness for the coming year. This year is the year of the Monkey, which symbolizes creativity, gentleness and compassion. Here, some ideas for your family to share in this symbolic, colorful cultural celebration.
Thinking of want to try new things with your kids? There are some fun activities that you can try this year!
1. Make Little Purses
Most of the food of Chinese New Year symbolizes wishes for the coming year. Dumplings and potstickers represent purses full of money and wealth. Just sauté green onions, minced ginger and garlic, plus a tablespoon of five-spice powder over medium heat and add ground beef. Cook until browned, and set aside to cool. Fill store-bought wonton wrappers with 1 Tbsp. of the mixture, fold the wonton wrapper in half, and use your finger or a pastry brush to wet the edges of the wontons with a little egg or water, then pinch the edges of the dumplings to seal the filling inside. Place the dumplings in a steamer basket (line it with lettuce or cabbage leaves to prevent sticking), and steam for 12 to 15 minutes, or pan-fry the dumplings in vegetable oil until golden brown. You can also order some from your favorite take-out place or pick up a box from the freezer section of your grocery store.
2. Bake Coin Cookies
These peanut cookies look like coins and symbolize wealth and prosperity. Roll refrigerated peanut-butter cookie dough into walnut-sized balls and place a shelled, whole roasted peanut in the center. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 9 minutes.
3. Peel an Mandarin
Asian cultures consider Mandarin as symbols of luck for the coming year (in fact, the word for “mandarin” in Mandarin sounds like the Mandarin word for “luck”). They’re preferably served whole as gifts to wish a long life – so peel a few and enjoy!
4. Light the Night
In Chinese culture, the color red symbolizes joy and good fortune, so you’ll see red in every Lunar New Year celebration. To make lanterns, brush the outside of a clean, clear glass jar (like a spaghetti sauce jar without the label) with white glue and attach red squares of tissue paper. Once the jar is covered, brush the lantern again with white glue and let it dry completely. Place a tea light inside to cast a warm glow over your celebration.
5. Try Origami
Origami is an ancient tradition in Japan, and even the littlest kids love the shapes they can make with just a sheet of paper. Teach your kids how to do this and enjoy! ;)
6. Learn to Use Chopsticks
Now’s as good a time as ever to teach the art of using chopsticks.
7. Make a Dragon
Beautiful Chinese-style dragons symbolize power, strength and good luck. Make a kid version with multi-colored paper chains. Glue a red tongue and big googly eyes to one end of the chain, and draw scales onto the chain links with a black marker. Glue the top third of a craft stick to the side of every fifth link and the dragon becomes a slithering puppet.
Have fun and enjoy your Chinese New Year with your kids! ;)