Chinese New Year

Chun Jie Kuai Le! I live in China, so figured I should share something of Chinese New Year with the rest of the world. Crafts, recipes, and characters... oh my!

When is it?

Chinese New Year, or "Spring Festival" (Chun Jie) is celebrated on the first day of the lunar calendar, so it began on January 26th this year, 2009. However, in many parts of China including my own, the holiday is celebrated all the way through the Lantern Festival 15 days later... so you still have time to have some Chinese New Year fun!

What do you do?

Everyone who possibly can returns home to spend the holiday with their family. On any given day during the Spring Festival weeks, but especially on New Year's Eve and New Year's day, kids and adults set off firecrackers just before they eat their dinner meal. Kids get cash in red envelopes, red being the color symbolizing happiness. Families prepare and eat large meals together on New Year's Eve and day, plus any other days they're off work (some do get the full 15 days off!).

How to Celebrate?

What about some crafts? Kids Craft Weekly put out a tutorial series with four craft tutorials for the Chinese New Year: a Shiny Lantern, Lucky Garland, Paper Plate Ox, and Red Packet Lantern. Check them out here.

What to Eat?

You probably have heard about foods that are eaten for symbolic reasons: whole fish for success and family togetherness, oranges for wealth, uncut noodles for longevity, eggs for fertility.
To celebrate at home, try a noodle dish, serve some oranges, have eggs in your fried rice, and if you want to be really authentic, have a JiaoZi (Chinese dumpling) making party! They're shaped like the old form of Chinese gold, so they symbolize fortune in the new year.

...and you?

Take pictures of your family's Chinese New Year celebration and add them to our flickr group!

Comment for a chance to win January's giveaway: Layla Legs!

Don't forget to check out Mary's Jewelry shop on Etsy and use the 10% discount code for this month.