Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2003
It is time to prepare for Chinese New Year, to say good bye to the year of the Rabbit and pray for luck in the new Year of the Dragon, 4710 which begins on January 23rd. Also known as Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, this important holiday is celebrated around the globe starting with Chinese New Year's Eve, a day when Chinese families gather from near and far for their annual reunion dinner.

As I pack up the Christmas decorations, I am already looking forward to decorating for Chinese New Year! Over the last fifteen years, we have collected many beautiful and memorable decorations from numerous trips to New York's Chinatown, souvenirs from our adoption trips and China Heritage Tour and gifts from family and friends. Cleaning the house, buying new clothes, getting haircuts and bringing signs of spring into our home are some of the pre-celebration traditions we share with our daughters to help them embrace this special holiday!

Our plans to celebrate this year already include attending the Gladney Family Association New Year party and a get together hosted by one of our travel group families. I am sure we will also see our local Gladney friends for a luncheon at one of our homes, complete with a red velvet cake, or for one of our adventurous treks into Chinatown for a walking tour, a visit to the flower markets or a program at the Museum of Chinese Americans (MOCA)!

When our daughters were in elementary school, they enjoyed telling their classmates how we celebrated the holiday. At first they were nervous, but as time went on, they became more confident and enthused to tell their stories, teach a craft and share fun holiday facts. Of course their friends looked forward to receiving the red envelopes with chocolate coins or other goodies. Now that they are older, they are eager teach younger children some of what they have learned and share their excitement.

There are always so many festivals and parties hosted by local cultural organizations, adoption agencies, libraries and museums to choose from! Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to participate in one or more and enjoy your own family traditions.

The resources to learn about Chinese New Year are extensive, including books about Chinese holidays and traditions, articles on the internet and programs at libraries and museums. For a list of books you may find helpful, as well as a fun word search and coloring pages click here.

-- By Gladney mom with two daughters from China
Reprinted from January Asia Program Newsletter

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