File written by Adobe Photoshop¨ 4.0

Chinese New Year

February 7th 2008

Happy New Year! The Chinese New Year begins on February 7, 2008. The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600 BC, when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying: "This is the animal that hides in your heart." 2008 is the Year of the Rat.

The study of Chinese New Year fits best with standards in grades four and below, so the literature and lesson activities are designed for that age group. Older students will find interesting information in the web resource section that aligns with the study of China in grades 6 and 7. If you find interesting sites on your own, be sure to send them to us at SCORE H-SS

Web Resources

Celebrating Chinese New Year
This site by the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco has clear information about Chinese New Year including the traditions of Turning Over a New Leaf, Sweeping of the Grounds, the Kitchen God, Family Celebration, Lai-See, Everybody’s Birthday, and the Lantern Festival. It also looks at the American Chinese New Year and the traditional versus modern ideas about its meaning and symbolism.

Celebrating Lunar Calendar Chinese New Year
This site has a description of the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year is the day of the first new Moon (day 1 of month 1 of a Chinese lunar year). Here you will also find information about Chinese history and culture.

Chinese New Year
This rich site has information about how the lunar New Year is calculated, the elements of the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year, traditional foods, decorations, customs and superstitions related to the holiday.

Chinese New Year Calendar
This site has a description of the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year is the day of the first new Moon (day 1 of month 1 of a Chinese lunar year). Here you will also find information about Chinese history and culture.

Chinese New Year
The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600BC, when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Because of cyclical lunar dating, the first day of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. On the Chinese calendar, 2007 is Lunar Year 4704-4705. On the Western calendar, the start of the New Year falls on February 18, 2007 — The Year of the Pig.


Chinese New Year
Here are crafts and activities related to Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Crafts
Here are instructions for making parade dragons, snakes, lanterns and decorations.  Annoying ads must be closed to see the directions.

Arts and Crafts for Chinese New Year
There are activities and crafts here as well as printable maps and books on China and Chinese New Year for  young children. 

Children's Literature

Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith.
Holiday House, 1999.
Ryan and his family prepare to celebrate Chinese New Year in their home and community of Chinatown in San Francisco. Pictures show the shopping for symbolic foods and flowers, a trip to the cemetery to honor ancestors, the gathering of the clan, preparing meals, attending the parade, and more. Grades K-4

Chinese New Year's Dragon by Rachel Sing. Aladdin, 1994.
A little girl tells the story of her modern middle class family's Chinese New Year celebration. The girl cleans the house in her jeans, but she wears traditional clothing (with red sneakers) for the family party. The magical happening is a tiny, dreamy moment when the girl feels she's back in ancient China, watching the celebration from a dragon's back. The pictures show a world in which tradition intersects a nontraditional world: the New Year's fireworks explode against an urban skyline. Grades 3-5

Chinese New Year by Catherine Chambers. Raintree/Steck Vaughn, 1997
This entry in the “"World of Holidays"” series describes the traditions, ceremonies, and foods associated with the celebration of the Chinese New Year. The rites and rituals the Chinese use to celebrate their New Year include no washing or baths on New Year's Day, firecrackers, charms made of peach wood, poems written on red paper, drums, dancing lions, and lighting lanterns. Grades 2-5.

Chinese New Year by Alice K. Flanagan. Compass Point Books, 2003
This book explores the history, customs, and symbols of Chinese New Year. Learn how Chinese New Year has changed over time and how it is celebrated around the world. Flanagan’s illustrated history is also filled with interesting and unusual facts about the holiday such as what foods can be found on the Tray of Togetherness and why the color red is important.

The Chinese New Year Mystery (Nancy Drew Notebooks, No 39) by Carolyn Keene. Aladdin, 2000.
The third-grade classes at Nancy's school are learning about Chinese culture, and they will celebrate the Chinese New Year with a special parade. The highlight of the parade will be a dragon costume that Nancy's class is making out of feathers, sequins, gold tassels, and red silk. But right before the big day, the dragon disappears! Grades 2-5

The Dancing Dragon by Marcia K. Vaughan. Mondo, 1996.
The Chinese New Year is about to begin. There's lots to do--tie strings of firecrackers outside, hang up red scrolls, bake special cakes, and sing New Year's songs. And when family and friends are gathered together, it's time for the parade to begin. Grades K-4

Gung Hay Fat Choy by June Behrens. Children's Press, 1989.

This nonfiction book is good for introducing the traditions of Chinese New Year. It has photographs of parades, families celebrating the holiday, and the traditional Lion Dance (dragon dance). Grades K-4

Happy New Year! Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'Ai: Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'Ai by Demi. Dragonfly, 1999.
Children examine the flurry of activity associated with the Chinese New Year. Includes descriptions of everything from heavenly beings to candied coconut. Children will also find their own animal sign of the Chinese New Year based on the year of their birth. Chinese and English. Grades K-4

Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year by Kate Waters and Madeline Slovenz-Low. Scholastic, 1991.
On the Chinese New Year, six-year-old Ernie will perform his first Lion Dance. The book provides an intimate look at a Chinese household as the family shares a proud moment with Ernie. This is an NCSS Notable Book. Grades K-4

Long-Long's New Year: A Story About The Chinese Spring Festival by Catherine Gower. Tuttle Publishing, 2005.
To earn money for the upcoming Spring Festival (also known as Chinese New Year), Long-Long and his grandfather take a bicycle cart loaded with cabbages into town on market day. At first everyone overlooks their wares, but Long-Long befriends a cook who berates a nearby seller for her inferior cabbages. Soon, buyers flock to Long-Long and his grandfather instead. Their cabbage sales are so successful that Grandpa gives Long-Long 10 yuan, which he spends on presents for his mother and little sister. Grade K-4

My Chinese New Year by Monica Hughes. Raintree, 2005.
Discover the wonders of Chinese New Year festivals. This book looks at the preparations for Chinese New Year, what people wear, the food that is eaten, and why it’s celebrated. Follow a young child as he gets involved in the preparations and celebrations. Grades K-3

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn. Lee & Low, 1997.
This is a tale of a young boy eager to spend his lucky money on Chinese New Year's Day. As Sam searches the streets of Chinatown for ways to spend his four dollars, he stumbles upon a stranger in need. After he decides to give, rather than spend, his money, Sam realizes that he's the lucky one. Grades K-4

When the Circus Came to Town by Laurence Yep. HarperCollins, 2001.
This heartwarming historical tale is based on real events. Ursula lives in a tiny Montana town with her parents and a Chinese cook, Ah Sam. After a blizzard scuttles Ah Sam's plans to spend Chinese New Year in San Francisco, she rallies the whole town to plan an elaborate celebration of that holiday. Bolstered by themes of compassion, community and tolerance, this story is among Yep's best. Grades K-3