Looking for fun facts to explain Chinese New Year for kids? From greetings and gifts to fireworks and feasting, we’ve got you covered.
Chinese New Year is a vibrant and exciting festival featuring colorful lanterns, dragon dances, and fireworks.
So if you’re looking for ways to celebrate Chinese New Year for kids, there are plenty of interesting customs and traditions you can focus in on.
Here, we’ve put together our favorite fun facts about the festival to fire up little imaginations.
In this article: 📝
- Why is it important to teach children about Chinese New Year?
- What are some fun facts about Chinese New Year?
- What are 3 traditions for Chinese New Year?
Why is it important to teach children about Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is a festival that’s celebrated all over the world by millions of people.
The best way to teach your kids about it?
Get them involved!
Why not see if there are any public celebrations happening near you?
Or you could have a go at preparing some traditional Chinese New Year treats together.
There are lots of tasty options.
We’ll also give you some ideas for Chinese New Year-themed craft activities below.
What are some fun facts about Chinese New Year?
Here are our top 10 fun facts to bring Chinese New Year alive for kids:
1. Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year 🌑
That’s because Chinese New Year marks the start of the Chinese lunar calendar, which follows the movement of the moon.
Unlike New Year in the western Gregorian calendar (which always starts on January 1st), Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.
So how do you know when the festival is going to be?
It always begins on the day of the new moon that appears sometime between January 21st and February 20th.
In 2023, it will start on Sunday, January 22nd.
2. The festival has been celebrated for thousands of years
Originally, Chinese New Year was a religious occasion where people would pray to the gods for a good harvest in the coming year.
And traditional ceremonies still play a role in the festival today.
In particular, many people honor their ancestors by lighting incense and offering gifts of food.
3. People all over the world celebrate Chinese New Year 🌏
The festival isn’t just celebrated in mainland China.
Many other Asian countries, including Singapore, Vietnam, and South Korea, mark Chinese New Year, too.
And you’ll also find festivities going on in other countries that are home to a large number of Asian people.
4. It all began with a monster…
Legend has it that the Chinese New Year festival began with the defeat of a monster called Nian.
Every spring, the Nian would come to a village and eat the people’s animals and crops — and sometimes even the villagers themselves.
So, one year a wise monk advised the villagers to make a lot of noise and hang red paper cut-outs over their doors, in order to scare off the monster.
The monster went away, and so Chinese New Year was born.
5. Celebrations last for fifteen days
Celebrations for the Chinese New Year festival begin on New Year’s Eve (the day before the new moon) and end fifteen days later, on the evening of the full moon.
In China, the first seven days are a public holiday.
6. New Year’s Eve is celebrated with a feast 🥟
On Chinese New Year’s Eve many people get together with their families for a dinner feast.
Traditional foods to eat include savory dumplings (symbolizing wealth), fish dishes (symbolizing good luck and a healthy life), and long noodles (symbolizing a long life).
Tangerines are also a popular fruit to eat or display during the New Year, as they’re thought to bring good luck.
7. Chinese New Year ends with the Lantern Festival 🏮
The Lantern Festival is a really exciting way to end the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Houses and streets are festooned with colorful lanterns, often with riddles on them.
And if you guess the riddle, you might just get a prize!
(Find out how to make your own paper lantern here.)
In many places, the Lantern Festival is also celebrated with parades, dancing, and fireworks.
8. People exchange New Year’s greetings
Wondering how to wish someone a happy Chinese New Year?
Well, in Mandarin you would say Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Pronounced gong-she-faa-tsai.)
Or in Cantonese, you would say Gong Hei Fat Choy! (Pronounced gong-hee-faat-choy.)
Both of these greetings mean “Have a prosperous New Year!”
9. Firecrackers and fireworks light up the night 🧨
Traditionally, lighting firecrackers was seen as a way to usher in good luck for the New Year.
But, for safety reasons, many cities now hold official fireworks displays instead.
10. Families have fun together
Spending time with family members is a big part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, especially on New Year’s Eve and the first day of the New Year (also called the Spring Festival).
Families gather to share meals, exchange gifts, and offer good wishes for the year to come.
What are 3 traditions for Chinese New Year?
And here are three more important Chinese New Year traditions:
The color red 🔴
Red is a lucky color in Chinese culture, so you’ll see a lot of it around during the New Year!
People often wear red clothes and decorate their homes with red lanterns and paper cut-outs.
Why not have a go at some Chinese paper-cutting with your kids?
Money envelopes 🧧
Giving and receiving red envelopes containing money (hong bao in Mandarin) is another popular custom during Chinese New Year.
These gifts symbolize prosperity and happiness.
Kids and young people receive the envelopes from their parents and older relatives.
The amount of money inside often begins with an even number, as that’s considered lucky.
(Except for the number four, which is unlucky!)
Watching dragon dances 🐉
Dragon dances are a common sight during Chinese New Year.
They are performed by a long line of dancers carrying a huge dragon puppet, which is moved to make the creature appear alive.
The dragon is a powerful symbol in Chinese culture, so the dragon dance is thought to bring good luck to the people watching.
(And the longer the dragon, the more luck it brings!)
Show your kids how to make their own mini dragon puppet right here.
Gong Xi Fa Cai! 🎆