The Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of the first moon of the Lunar calendar. The occasion is a time for Chinese people to congratulate each other on finishing out the old year and welcoming the new one. It is similar to Western New Year celebrations in that it is a time for turning over a new leaf.
This year The Chinese New Year is being celebrated on Friday, 12th of February and it is the year of the Ox. The below video is a great starting point to introduce young children to the celebrations.
Chinese New Year Learning Opportunities
There are many different things that would be a great learning opportunity for the children. Here are some ideas that you could use;
- The Colour Red – Red is thought to be a lucky colour and represents good fortune and happiness. People decorate buildings, streets and houses with the colour red to celebrate. You could also use this as an opportunity to learn more about the colour red.
- The Ox – Every year an animal is celebrated as part of the festival. 2021 is the year of the Ox. In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal as it is seen as hardworking and strong. They are used by farmers for ploughing and transporting.
- China – You can use the Chinese New Year to learn more about the country China. You can learn about the typical foods and drinks of China, the spoken language and the animals that you find there such as Pandas. You could also learn about famous places such as the Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City and the Terracotta Army.
- Paper Lanterns – Lanterns are a big part of the Lantern Festival. They are used to decorate buildings, streets and homes for the period of the festival. You could encourage the children from your class to make their own lantern at home using paper and red paint or crayons.
- Dragons – Dragons are a big part of the festival. The dragon is said to bring luck to people within the community and the longer the dragon the more luck it will bring! They symbolise wisdom, power and wealth. The dragon dance is also a huge part of the celebrations. You could encourage the children to carry out their own Dragon Dance at home with inspiration from this video
Why we should celebrate The Chinese New Year
Celebrating different traditions encourages diversity as the children learn about other cultures and traditions from around the world. Teaching children about other cultures not only teaches them differences we have but also how we have many things in common. Most holiday celebrations focus on teaching traditions, history and the reason a group of people care for each other. This includes things such as love, respect and family.
In addition, new themes and topics will always present new learning opportunities for young children. These learning opportunities can be extended based on discussions and from exploring the theme with the children. When we learn about different cultures in the classroom from a young age we are more accepting of other cultures as we get older.