Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning about: Chinese New Year 2

My aunt is a former teacher, and has been to China 3 times since they opened for tourism in the 80's. We invited her over for lunch with the hope that she would share some pictures and stories with us. Moira wrote the invitation email herself.
Boy did we luck out. My aunt is now retired, so she brought many things she had collected for her classroom and gave them to us. Some fans, multiple maps, books in Mandarin, calligraphed banners (sadly she lost the translations), a little dragon puppet, and much more.

I thought the pictures were the best part. She had photos of Old and New China, along with some of the sections that are now preserved for tourists. I also enjoyed listening to the questions Moira had about certain things. My aunt had always visited in the summer, so Moira got to share her knowledge of the New Year celebration which she loved.

Dining room decorations
Our dining room is very fancy right now. I planned a multi dish meal for the Saturday after the start of the Lunar New Year to share with our household. I planned a little too much, especially considering that Walker was gone skiing with Moira until about an hour before dinner time. As soon as the car was unloaded, he jumped in and helped with the scallion pancakes. Moira surprised us both by asking how she could help, and setting the table almost entirely by herself. She continued to ask how she could help after finishing each task, and when I thanked her she cheerful responded "Everyone helps during Chinese New Year!" which is a line from one of the first books we read on this subject.

Balloon lanterns!
While we were at the birthday party, Davis and I heard loud drumming so we ran up to the main floor of the Armory to discover the Vietnamese Tết ceremony. We sat down for lunch and to watch the lion dance, and afterwards we bought these balloons. I'd been hoping to find some lanterns for the Lantern Festival, but so far had no luck, and I think these are similar enough for my kids to be happy. I also discovered that the outfit I bought Moira years ago when she was obsessed with "Ruby's Wish" is actually a Vietnamese Ao Dai, not a Cheongsam, like I assumed.

One of the things mentioned in a book we read was that you are supposed to decide what kind of positive character change you are supposed to have in the New Year, and then spend the two weeks of the Lunar New Year celebrations really focusing on that aspect. I asked Moira what she wanted to be in the Year of the Horse, and she said she wanted to be fancy. So I let her create her own Pinterest board of clothing ideas, and I'm going to try and involve her in designing some outfits this year. She has VERY different taste that I do, or than I did at her age. This will be interesting.

Chinese Kids Books

Bringing In the New Year
4 of 5 stars
Moira loved this one, and we went through it page by page writing down ideas for us to do as we got ready for the New Year. I especially like that it listed some of the less public things that people do for the Lunar New Year, like gathe...
Tracks of a Panda
2 of 5 stars
This is a cute little book that talks about how Pandas live, and eat. It didn't really appeal to my kids though,.
The Cat's Tale: Why the Years Are Named for Animals
2 of 5 stars
Amusingly, Moira wanted to read this one, but not one of the traditional stories about how the Zodiac race, so I kept having to stop and explain things to her. I thought this one could have been better, the cat seemed a little annoying.
Chelsea's Chinese New Year
4 of 5 stars
I just have a soft spot for these Cloverlead books. They have great illustrations, and I like that they explain the differences in how the celebration talked about is celebrated both in their home country and here in the United States. M...
Chinese New Year
4 of 5 stars
This book is a little dry, but informative. It also has a great recipe for Nian Gao (the traditional New Year's cake) that is naturally Gluten Free.


Part 1, part 3 coming soon.

1 comment: