This Thursday (February 3) was the first day of Lunar New Year for 2011!
Xin nian kuai le!
For all my fellow parents of children adopted from China (and all those of you who are just interested), I thought I’d list some of my favorite resources and things to do for Chinese New Year.
2. Food! Oh, where to start? Many, many foods are considered symbolic for the New Year, since all Chinese words have multiple homonyms. (Bats are considered lucky because “fu” in different inflections means bat and lucky. The word “happiness” is hung upside down on doors, because “upside down” sounds like “arrives.”) Demi’s Happy New Year does a thorough job of explaining New Year’s traditions and symbolism. (Although this includes a page on the various Buddhas.)
Try a new recipe, revisit some favorites.
3. Books! I could go on for ages on this subject, so I’ll just give a few absolute favorites:
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin: frankly, we’ve read most of Grace Lin’s Chinese-themed books, and they’ve all been great. For your older readers, especially those familiar with some Chinese folk tales and myths, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is excellent. And the dim sum book, Seven Chinese Sisters (a twist on the traditional Seven Chinese Brothers story), and The Ugly Vegetables, and…
Moonbeams, Dumplings, and Dragon Boats: excellent year-round resource on the major Chinese festivals. Includes legends, history, traditions, recipes, and crafts.
Long Long’s New Year: young Long Long and his grandfather travel to town to sell their crop. Really cute book. Long Long helps his grandfather, earns some money, and saves the day. Includes a telling of the story of the monster Nian (the New Year is Xin Nian), scared off by red paper and loud noises.
Looking for a nice conclusion, and can’t think of one after midnight…