Yundi and Wendy’s grandma is coming from China for Sun Nin, the Chinese New Year! They told Miss Pat, and she suggested that they do a “show and tell” about Chinese New Year for the class. They agreed! They always listened respectfully when their classmates spoke about their holidays; it was nice to be able to talk about their annual holiday!
The morning of their “show and tell” Yundi and Wendy brought in some pictures of decorations popular for Chinese New Year. They put the photos up around the classroom, and then took their places in the front of the classroom. Miss Pat nodded for them to begin.
Yundi began, “Chinese New Year is a moveable holiday because it is celebrated according to the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. It takes place somewhere between January 21st and February 20th. The celebration may last for a week.
Each year is named after one of the 12 animals on the Chinese Zodiac. Some people think that a person born in a year dedicated to a certain animal will have that animal’s characteristics.
Then Wendy took over, saying, “Chinese families make many preparations for the Chinese New Year. Everything must be very clean. Special foods are prepared. New outfits are bought. Any debts are paid. Everyone gets ready to start out fresh and new. Red and orange are the special colors used for decorations. There are special scrolls everywhere with good wishes written in Chinese characters: Good Health, Long Life, Luck, Prosperity, and Happiness.
This day is everyone’s birthday party because Chinese people add a year to their age on this day no matter when they were born. Gifts are given. Children are allowed to stay up late on Chinese New Year’s Eve. They are given gifts of money wrapped in red paper. At midnight firecrackers are lit to scare away the bad spirits.
Yundi finished their talk by saying, “On New Year’s Day everyone is very careful to be good and polite because they believe that the way they act on New Year’s will count in the year to come. Everyone visits friends and relatives and attends celebrations in the community. They may see the lion dance and the dragon parade, which bring good luck and prosperity.
They greet each other by saying,” Gung hay fat choy! which means, “Happy New Year!”
Just as Yundi and Wendy were finishing their talk, the classroom door opened and in walked their mom and their grandma, all the way from China! Everyone clapped, Wendy and Yundi ran up to their grandma and gave her a big hug. Then grandma opened the big basket she was carrying and offered each of the “Can Dos” a traditional Chinese New Year treat…an orange and a fortune cookie!