Chinese new year doesn't belong to people in China anymore. There are many Chinese living in the other parts of the world that celebrate the richly inherited Chinese new year. It is not only Chinese that celebrate the new year. With the booster of globalization, many people are interested in Chinese new year and participate to celebrate. It is a very unique traditional culture that many people are curious about. Last time, I wrote about 18 Chinese New Year Activity Ideas and Resources {Printables}. Today, after doing some research about the Chinese new year, I feel very happy as I can understand the tradition that people around me never told me before. There are more Chinese New Year questions in the society. Therefore, I would like to share 10 Chinese New Year Questions to Discuss with Children.

Books to Introduce Chinese New Year

Before we go to the Chinese New Year questions, you might want to check out some books to introduce Chinese New Year to children

By Joan Holub Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year LTF: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin) (Ltf) [Paperback]By Joan Holub Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year LTF: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin) (Ltf) [Paperback]Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns by Carolyn Otto (2009-01-13)Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns by Carolyn Otto (2009-01-13)Chelsea's Chinese New Year (Cloverleaf Books - Holidays and Special Days)Chelsea's Chinese New Year (Cloverleaf Books – Holidays and Special Days)Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year (Reading Rainbow Books)Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year (Reading Rainbow Books)Bringing In the New Year (Read to a Child!)Bringing In the New Year (Read to a Child!)Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & RecipesMoonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes



10 Chinese New Year Questions to Share with Children

10 Chinese new year questions to discuss with children

How different is Chinese New Year from the international new year?

The short answer to this question is pretty easy as Chinese new year is calculated based on the lunar calendar, while the international new year is calculated based on the solar calendar. However, one question arises in my mind:

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There are some versions of the lunar calendars. In fact, the Moslem's calendar, which also use the lunar movement based, has different seasons for the new year. On the other hand, the Chinese new year is always between late January to end of February. The Chinese people name it as the spring festival. It means that the Chinese new year is always the opening of the spring.

I tried to do some browsing, and I found the answer here:

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Why does Chinese New Year use red as a color symbol?

Red is identical with the communist China. However, traditionally red is the symbol of happiness, success, beauty, and good luck for the Chinese. Red is also the symbol of strength that will expel the bad luck.

Therefore, giving the red envelopes in the Chinese new year means to give a wish of happiness, success, beauty, and good luck as well to the receivers.

Why do Chinese people give red envelopes?

Chinese new year is also identical with the red envelopes with money inside. Red envelopes with money are not only for the Chinese new year, but they are also given as presents for birthday and wedding day.

The red envelopes sold in this day are usually decorated or illustrated with the pictures of:

  • the celebrated animal zodiac on the year
  • Lucky food, such as orange, fish, noodle on a porridge
  • Chinese writing or calligraphy of happiness, luck, and any good wish
  • coins or traditional gold money

There are several myths regarding the red envelopes as I know from my parents and also from browsing:

  • The myths say that there was a demon that tried to do some evil things to children. One day, the children sleep on a pillow with a pile of coins underneath the pillow. When the demon got closer, the coins sparkled and the demon was afraid. Therefore, giving money to single person or children means to give luck, happiness, and prosperity to the children and to avoid the children from “demon”
  • Other story said that giving red envelopes with the money inside also means that parents or higher authority put away the bad luck by changing it into good luck or blessing to others.

If you are a parent and an employer, you can give the red envelopes to

  • your children
  • close friends
  • relative's children
  • your employees
  • acquaintance's children
  • your old parents who don't have income

Of course, the amount of money will be different based on the priority. According to the tradition, the money can be spent for food and clothes as a wish of prosperity and happiness, but the modern children usually spend it for toys as well.

What wishes do Chinese people give to others in the Chinese New Year?

There are some common Chinese new year wishes that I read around in pin yin or the latin version of Chinese writing. Honestly, I don't understand what they are talking about. Here are 5 common wishes the Chinese give to others in Chinese new year.

Why do people watch Lion Dance?

The reference of Lion Dance and Dragon Dance are sometimes swapped each other. In this video, it is referred as the lion dance. The Lion Dance combines the martial arts and entertainment. It encorporates two dancers as a head and a tail. Lion dance is always linked to the Chinese New Year as it symbolizes good fortunes and happiness. People give money to the lion while they are watching.

Here is a good video about some hidden technical and knowledge about the Lion Dance.

How do Chinese people use the fire cracker in the Chinese New Year?

Many Chinese around the world still use firecracker in celebrating the Chinese New Year. Although many countries have issued the law forbidding this tradition due to the safety, Many people still use it. Well, the tradition is still based on the myth of Nian, or the evil monster, who is afraid of the loud voice of the firecracker.

Here is the story of Nian:

What do Chinese prepare for the new year?

There are different kinds of Chinese right now as China is a country that has the most population in the world. Many Chinese people don't live in China. Many of their descendants don't speak Chinese and have less traditions to practice in the modern days. Writing this post, I am very happy to learn some Chinese tradition in preparing the Chinese new year that my parents and grand parents don't tell me. From some research, here are some traditions that the traditional Chinese people prepare for the Chinese new year:

  • 7 days before – The traditional Chinese people will pay respect to the Kitchen God
  • 6 days before – People will do deep cleaning to their house.
  • Everyone will purchase or make new clothes and/or shoes for the Chinese New Year celebration
  • People will write good wish on paper and stick it on the doors
  • Chinese people make decoration for their house
  • Most Chinese people do the holiday shopping
  • People start cooking to store food for the Chinese new year, such as dumpling and rice cake or Chinese New Year cakes.

What do Chinese people do in the Chinese New Year Eve?

  • People have family Chinese New Year Eve dinner together.
  • Children and single adults will pay respect to the elders while the elders will give the red envelopes.
  • There are parties with fire crackers and lion dance festivals
  • After midnight, traditional Chinese will pay respect the ancestor for their blessings
  • The modern Chinese will have some gala dinners in the new year eve
  • The modern Chinese people count down for the new year

How do you know your Chinese zodiac?

Chinese zodiac is very useful to:

  • ask somebody's age without being rude
  • predict the character of a person to help someone with business and consider the matchmaking or frienship

There are 12 Chinese zodiacs that represent the Chinese year. They have certain sequence that is repeated every 12 years in certain sequence. We call it as a cycle.

  • rat
  • cow or bull
  • tiger
  • rabbit
  • dragon
  • snake
  • horse
  • ramp or sheep or goat
  • monkey
  • rooster
  • dog
  • pig or boar

There are also 5 elements accompanying each zodiac that will determine the characters of people. It means that every 12 year cycle, we celebrate the same Chinese zodiac with different element.

  • metal for those who has birth year ends in 0 or 1
  • water for those who has birth year ends in 2 or 3
  • wood for those who has birth year ends in 4 or 5
  • fire for those who has birth year ends in 6 or 7
  • earth for those who has birth year ends in 8 or 9

Which food are eaten and which ones are avoided?

Chinese has some belief about food they need to eat or should not eat. Although we are Chinese descendants, we cannot speak Chinese, but we still follow some traditions. There isn't any wrong to follow it. The young people usually take it just for fun, but this is also the form of respect toward the eldest. I love the video bellow to show kids what to eat and not to eat during the Chinese New Year. According to the video, here are the food need to eat in the Chinese New Year:

  1. noodle
  2. fish
  3. orange
  4. promegenate
  5. whole chicken
  6. sunflower seeds
  7. sticky cake
  8. dumpling
  9. egg rolls

People should not take these foods according to the video:

  1. white food
  2. squid

This video will show the reasons for each of the food. We can believe or disbelieve about this, but this is just a tradition.

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  1. Each nation is celebration New year in their traditional way to express their joy and feeling. This is only the day on which we can recall our failures and achievements and plan to move ahead


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