Lunar or Chinese New Year for Kids: Celebrating is Hard Work!
When we were living in New York City and feeling very homesick around Chinese New Year, I found myself looking for a funny picture book featuring the activities and traditions of Chinese New Year for kids that I could read to my daughter.
There were several nice books, but I never quite found one that conveyed the often hectic and raucous atmosphere I missed so much. The Spring Festival (春节), Lunar or Chinese New Year always feels like a time when we start anew, when we pledge to each other that we will make the new year better. And whatever we are experiencing, preparing for a big meal together and then eating together provides the feeling that we are truly not alone in the world and we belong to this tribe of people. In New York, we learned to say not simply 春节快乐 （chūnjié kuàilè) to our Chinese friends, also 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (saehae bok mani badeusipsio) to our Korean friends, and Chúc Mừng Năm Mới to our Vietnamese friends as the Lunar New Year is celebrated across these different places.
Well, this year, we finally made our own story about Chinese New Year for kids, titled “Celebrating is Hard Work!” 《庆祝好累人！》and you can read it on the Dim Sum Warriors App if you’re a CLUB or PLUS+ subscriber.
For parents and teachers reading our story in the Dim Sum Warriors app ahead of this year’s Lunar New Year celebrations, I have prepared some discussion questions—as well as a list of vocabulary in Mandarin and English covered in the story. These will help to enrich the discussion about Lunar or Chinese New Year for kids.
Here’s a selection of words covered in our story, “Celebrating is Hard Work!” 《庆祝好累人！》”, which you can read in the Dim Sum Warriors App. You can also download a pdf with the full list together with the discussion questions.
HSK 1-2 易 Foundational
|1||灯不关||dēng bùguān||leave the lights on|
|4||鱼生||yúshēng||raw fish salad|
HSK 3-4 中 Intermediate
|5||春节快乐||chūnjié kuàilè||happy Lunar New Year|
|7||放/点燃||fàng / diǎnrán||set off|
|8||除夕||chúxì||Lunar New Year’s Eve|
HSK5-6 难 Advanced
|11||团圆饭||tuányuán fàn||reunion dinner|
|15||亲朋好友||qīnpéng hǎoyǒu||friends and relatives|
|18||财神爷||cáishén yé||God of Wealth|
|19||年兽||niánshòu||The Nian Monster|
|23||舞龙舞狮||wǔlóng wǔshī||dragon and lion dance|
|25||元宵节||yuánxiāo jié||final day of Lunar New Year (in some places, it is known as the ‘lantern festival’, as lanterns are a special feature of the celebrations)|
Lunar Chinese New Year Story for Kids: QUESTIONS FOR CRITICAL THINKING
As Covid has affected travel and celebrations, especially large family gatherings, it’s important at Chinese New Year for kids to know what traditional Chinese New Year activities are, and also for them to think about and discuss critical questions like:
- What other cultures celebrate the lunar new year?
- Why do people hold elaborate celebrations when they often involve such hard work?
- How have celebrations changed over the years?
- What happens to us when there are no celebrations for festivals?
You can access the full list of questions for pre-reading, during-reading and post-reading by downloading this PDF. Remember to download the story in the Dim Sum Warriors App for story. You can also pre-read this anthropologist’s take on why the rituals of cultural celebrations are important for families and societies.
Liked this post? Check these other posts out:
- Chinese New Year Greetings for the Year of the Rabbit
Amazing Facts about the Hongbao (Chinese New Year Red Envelope)
Fun Story at Lunar or Chinese New Year for Kids: Celebrating is Hard Work!
- 正月調 15 Commandments of Chinese New Year
Dr. Yen Yen Woo works on educating for a multicultural and multilingual world through popular culture. She most recently co-created the Dim Sum Warriors App, characters and stories for Bilingual Learning. She has a Doctorate in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and has been a tenured professor of education. She is also an award-winning film director and screenwriter. Her works have been licensed by HBO and Netflix and featured on BBC, Fast Company, Wired, and other global publications. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.