Chinese New Year is a two week Spring festival celebrated for over 5,000 years in China. The most important of the Chinese holidays, the celebration lasts for 15 days and culminates with the Lantern Festival. Millions around the world will celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year on February 18-19, 2015. It’ll be February 18 according to U.S. calendars, and February 19 in Asia.
For the past couple of years, we have celebrated Chinese New Year in San Francisco Chinatown – our favorite way to celebrate the holiday. The San Francisco Chinese New Year celebration originated in the 1860’s during the Gold Rush days and is now the largest Asian event in North America as well as the largest general market event in Northern California. The celebration includes two major fairs, the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and Chinatown Community Street Fair. All the festivities culminate with Chinese New Year Parade.
Named one of the top ten parades in the world, Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is one of the few remaining night illuminated parades in the country. Each year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Many of the floats feature the theme of current zodiac sign; for 2015, it’s the Year of the Sheep (or Ram).
In 2013, we went alone and upon our return, the kids created a news-style report to share what they had learned, Chinese New Year in San Francisco. The following year, we invited friends to join us and it was so much fun to share in our new tradition.
We enjoy meandering along the streets during the Community Street Fair, shopping in the many stores (we always find great Mandarin language books), and stopping at the vendor booths. Coca Cola and McDonalds always have great giveaways and cues that wrap around several blocks! The restaurants are many – making it difficult to choose. Of course, we can’t leave Chinatown without stopping at the Fortune Cookie Factory.
There is something for everyone and we always have a great time. We look forward to this weekend getaway every year.
Activities to Celebrate Chinese New Year
- Learn a song – 新年好呀
- Give red envelopes or 红包 (hóng bāo) to children
- Throw a party
- Collect Chinese New Year postage stamps from around the world
- On the first night of Chinese New Year, it is traditional to make jiaozi or dumplings
- Read a few Chinese New Year books
- If you are able to visit Chinatown – in San Francisco, New York, or elsewhere – have fun with a scavenger hunt
This post is part of the Chinese New Year series and giveaway on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Enter our giveaway to win one of these great prize packages, and don’t forget to link up your own posts about Chinese New Year on our main page!
Giveaway begins Jan. 21 and goes through midnight ET on March 5, 2015. Enter below for a chance to win! Remember you can make a comment on the blog post of a different co-host each day for an additional entry.
First Prize Package
From Tuttle Publishing, All About China: Take the whole family on a whirlwind tour of Chinese history and culture with this delightfully illustrated book that is packed with stories, activities and games. Travel from the stone age through the dynasties to the present day with songs and crafts for kids that will teach them about Chinese language and the Chinese way of life.
Also from Tuttle Publishing, Long-Long’s New Year, a beautifully illustrated picture book about a little Chinese boy named Long-Long, who accompanies his grandfather into the city to sell cabbages in order to buy food and decorations for the New Year. Selling cabbages is harder than Long-Long expects, and he encounters many adventures before he finds a way to help his grandfather, and earn New Year’s treats for his mother and little cousin.
From A Little Mandarin, a CD featuring a collection of Chinese children’s classics – songs loved by families in China for generations – given new life with a contemporary sound and voice. The 15 tracks fuse rock, pop, dance, ska, and hip hop influences with playful lyrics to make it a unique and fun learning companion for all ages. Featured on Putumayo Kids Presents World Sing-Along.
Second Prize Package
US shipping only
From Tuttle Publishing, Celebrating the Chinese New Year, in which Little Mei’s grandfather tells her the stories of Nian and the monster Xi for Chinese New Year.
Also from Tuttle Publishing, The Sheep Beauty, which brings to life the kindness and generosity of those born under the sign of the sheep in the Chinese zodiac.
Also from Tuttle Publishing, Chinese Zodiac Animals, a fun and informative way to learn about the ancient Chinese Zodiac, explaining the traits of each animal sign and what luck the future might hold for the person born under that sign.
From Tiny Tapping Toes, a monkey drum, plus a free pdf of a craft version. World Music children’s performer DARIA has spent the last two decades performing in the USA and around the world, creating music to inspire all the world’s children and allowing children to become a part of the celebration and the fun of exploring world cultures.