Sunday, January 22, 2012
Welcome Chinese Dragons!!
The day has begun in China that marks the start of a new Lunar Year. Chinese within China and around the world have traveled to be with their families. This is the greatest human migration event in the world each year. The Ellison's send out our extreme good wishes for a new and blessed year. Since Chinese New Year is a celebration with and about family, we naturally look forward to getting Jaeya and Meisyn home with ours. We have FOUR dragons in the Ellison clan and so we are confident this will be ONE PARTICULARLY BLESSED AND LUCKY YEAR. Our dear Jaeya will have the greatest good fortune of all the Ellison dragons. She will get a forever family!! But dragons Stefani, Makayla, and Caden think bringing Jaeya and Meisyn home will be pretty darned lucky too!
The Year of the Dragon:
Chinese New Year 2012 celebrates the year of the Dragon. People born in the following years are Dragons: 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 and 2012. Dragons are risk takers, hard working, driven, independent, unafraid of challenges, leaders, and passionate in all they do. Because they have quick tempers, their partners need to be tough-skinned. When Dragons do find the right partners, they usually commit for life.
The History of Chinese New Year:
This year, the Chinese year 4710 begins on January 23, 2012. The Chinese all over the world are celebrating the New Year with a new sign, the dragon. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.
The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it's been called since the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, the holiday was a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family together for feasting. With the popular adoption in China of the Western calendar in 1912, the Chinese joined in celebrating January 1 as New Year's Day. China, however, continues to celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year, although in a shorter version with a new name - the Spring Festival. Significantly, younger generations of Chinese now observe the holiday in a very different manner from their ancestors. For some young people, the holiday has evolved from an opportunity to renew family ties to a chance for relaxation from work.
What are the Chinese up to during the New Year Chinese festivities?
Chinese families celebrates Chinese New Year by using a different mix of their traditions, beliefs, superstitions, lucky signs and charms.
According to Chinese legend, a long time ago, the gods called together all the animals on the planet, and told them that there will be a race. The first twelve winners will be included in a special list that they were coming up with. So on the chosen date, all the animals lined up and started to race each other. Being the smallest, the rat was able to weave its way through and under all the other animals and ended up crossing the finish line first. Next came the ox, followed by the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and lastly, the pig. That's how those twelve animals ended up representing the twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac, each with its own specific characteristics.
For the Chinese, the dragon is the luckiest and most auspicious of all the animal signs. Chinese parents want their kids to get married in the Year of the Dragon. Chinese couples rush to make "dragon babies" because they're supposed to be lucky. You can just imagine the number of Chinese babies that will be born this year.
In addition, for Chinese, new year meant decorating and wearing red, having lots of food at home, attending fireworks and parades, and having lots of red envelopes with money inside. There would be round fruits so that there'll be lots of money, and pineapples for prosperity. A big fried fish would also be present because fish supposedly represented abundance.
A lot of Chinese also make it a point to visit Chinese temples on Chinese New Year's Eve to offer incense, pray to their ancestors and consult the resident geomancer about their fortunes for the coming year. Chinese families also visits their friends and relatives, and participate in the lantern festival. Families also clean their homes, because they feel that it will remove bad luck and ill-fortunes.
The highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon--which might stretch a hundred feet long--is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo.
Free Chinese New Year Printables, Games and Crafts for Kids:
Parents can spark their child’s love of learning through free printables from the Internet. Below are a few great resources for Chinese New Year free printables, crafts, games and more.
Apples 4 the Teacher.com: Activities include computer games, stories for kids, proverbs, crafts and free coloring pages.
Activity Village.com: Find free coloring pages, a Chinese New Year booklet, Chinese red envelopes and free craft ideas for kids.
Ed Helper.com: This helpful site is a great source for Chinese New Year word scrambles, word searches, coloring pages and a puzzle book.
Kiddy House.com: Offers a complete explanation of Chinese New Year, all written specifically for kids. There’s a nice section on how the Chinese celebrate the New Year, including customs and celebrations.
Enchanted Learning.com: This Internet resource offers easy-to-make crafts, including a Chinese lantern, tangram puzzle, fireworks craft and dancing dragon.
Posted by Stefani at 1:29 PM