Get ready for a New Year celebration! Sure, it was just New Years but why not continue the celebration and do Chinese New Year as well?! According to the interfaith calendar its a holiday celebrated by Confucian, Doaist, and Buddhist religions. Chinese New Year is the main Chinese festival of the year. As the Chinese use the Lunar calendar for their festivals the date of Chinese New Year changes from year to year. The date corresponds to the new moon in either late January or February.
Chinese New Year was traditionally the most important festival on the calendar. Business life comes to a stop and the focus is on celebration with family. For the new year people will clean their homes to cleanse them of any bad mojo that may have settled in the home and prepare for a fresh start in the new year. Ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons were offered to gods and ancestors. People posted scrolls printed with lucky messages on household gates and set off firecrackers to frighten evil spirits. Elders gave out money to children traditionally in little red envelopes. In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period were meant to bring good luck to the household and long life to the family–particularly to the parents.
Most important was the feasting. On New Year's Eve, the extended family would join around the table for a meal that included as the last course a fish that was symbolic of abundance and therefore not meant to be eaten. In the first five days of the New Year, people ate long noodles to symbolize long life. On the 15th and final day of the New Year, round dumplings shaped like the full moon were shared as a sign of the family unit and of perfection.
This year the Chinese Zodiac is the year of the wooden horse. If you are interested in what the year of the horse may hold for you here is a site with some zodiac predictions. If you want to know your Chinese zodiac sign you can find it here.
For our craft we decided to make a horse. When searching for ideas I saw these wine cork horses here and thought we should copy them. I have a huge collection of corks and they kids love any chance to glue or pull out the googly eyes-so I knew this would definitely make them happy.
We each made a horse and the boys got very creative with their manes and even decided to make little men to ride on the horses.
Supplies we used:
- googly eyes
- glue gun
- yarn for mane and tail
- colored cotton balls also for mane and tail
- Lay out how you want to horse body to look
- glue corks together
- glue on eyes, tail and mane
- add any extra accessories
For our food I thought it would be best to stick with the tradition of eating long noodles so we found a tasty Chinese noodle dish that would be pleasing to the whole family. The tradition of eating the long noodle is to represent a long unbroken life- so don't cut your noodles into shorter strands because it would symbolically shorten your life! We went with rice noodles and mine ended up quite sticky. They were devoured quickly though. So here is a tasty recipe I found (http://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/recipes/long-life-noodles/11251/) ! We did a take on this Washington Post recipe but with rice noodles and only a few mushrooms. We then added corn and peas for additional veggies. I also grated in a little fresh ginger. It went over well with all three boys and I ate the leftovers for lunch (paleo challenge taken down by cold noodles.)
I hope you enjoy your craft and noodle dish and have a fantastic Chinese New Year. And don't think we're done with New Year's yet there is at least one more up my sleeve in the near future!