When Christmas is over, keep the holiday spirit alive by celebrating Spring Festival. You don’t have to be in China get into the Chinese New Year spirit. Here are a few things you can do anywhere to be festive:
1. Pick up some decorations from your local Asian or international store if you have one. If you don’t, have the kids make some. You can make paper lanterns or other decorations to hang from lights. You can also practice writing the character “Fu” (good fortune/happiness) on red paper and hanging it upside down (so it will flow into the house or room) on or above doors. If you’re really ambitious you can write some spring couplets to put next to your door.
2. Buy or check out some books, such as “My First Chinese New Year” or “Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan”. If your kids are learning Chinese, check out the Taiwanese show, “Chaohu”, a cute tiger who dedicates one show to holiday traditions and is also just a fun way for kids to absorb Chinese.
3. Join in any parties or galas held by your local Chinese community. Great way for your kids to learn more about Chinese culture and have fun too. Watch a celebration on TV or online.
4. Get some red envelopes and put whatever amount of money you think is reasonable to give the kids. Have other family members do the same when you visit or they visit you.
5. There are as many ways to eat on Spring Festival Eve and Day as there are places in China Where my husband comes from, they eat long-life noodles (basically just long noodles!) on New Year’s Day in a chicken soup with an egg.
Jenny Lin is raising 3 boys in Beijing while working as a writer/editor. You can follow her @twinlins or keep up with her sporadically updated cross-cultural familial adventures at beijingmom.blogspot.com