Usually around this time, kids come home from school with craft projects to celebrate Lunar New Year, a.k.a. Chinese New Year, and in many cities, the streets are filled with lion dancers and fireworks displays by night. Well, not all of those exciting gatherings can take place to mark our transition to the Year of the Ox, but we can still honor it at home, both by watching celebrations online, and by making things ourselves.
The 15-day celebration of Lunar New Year begins on the date of the new moon in Asia (February 12 this year). Also known as Spring Festival, this holiday marks the end of the coldest days of the year and welcomes the joys of the spring — new beginnings, fresh starts, and good luck.
After the year we’ve just had, we could all use a fresh start, am I right? For those who celebrate Lunar or Chinese New Year, doing a thorough clean-up of the home is commonly done to get rid of the remaining back luck. As you clean, you may find some leftover scraps and household items that are perfect for arts and crafts.
Just a note here for non-Asian families: We at SheKnows are all for learning about other cultures, and kids learn by doing. But let’s please not veer into appropriation territory by dressing up as Chinese people or participating in a tradition without crediting the people who created it. Read up on what you’re doing, and pass that knowledge down to your littles.
That said, this stay-at-home year has not been the easiest and crafting is a fantastic way to keep kids (and ourselves) busy and happy. Plus, if you have family members you can’t travel to see physically in-person this year, then why not send them some festive Chinese New Year art. Kids love snail mail, and it’ll give them something to look forward to when their loved one’s receive it.
If you start now, you and your children will be able to participate in their own lantern festival. Typically held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, lanterns light up the sky in China the other countries that celebrate, for all to see.
From traditional Chinese lanterns to paper plate oxen, grab your scissors and glue and get started!
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