Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chinese (Lunar) New Year and a FREEBIE

kung hei fat choy

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself.  My name is Sidney and I host the blog Teachingisagift.  I have been an educator for a little more than 23 years in Toronto, Ontario.  I have worked as an instructional leader in the area of K-8 Science and Technology, I am a published author (Hands-On Science and Technology from Portage and Main Press) and for the last year I have been teaching a grade six gifted intensive support program for the Toronto District School Board.

"The majority of the students in my class celebrate Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the first day of the year of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".

The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau,Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity." Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, outside China its years are often numbered from the reign of the 3rd millennium BC Yellow Emperor. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year beginning in 2013 AD the "Chinese Year" 4711, 4710, or 4650."  (Source Wikipedia)

This week to celebrate the New Year my students and I will be making paper lanterns using red pockets/envelopes.  Traditionally these are used to give offering of money during the week of celebration.  I saw a wonderful craft idea on Scholastic and I decided that it was a MUST do for my class this year.  You can view the video HERE.

There are other versions of this craft on YOUTUBE.  One that is similar to the one we are going to do in my class is this one.

I got the red envelopes at a local Asian market.  I had to buy 12 envelopes per student.  I chose a variety of different designs so that students can choose what they like best.  You can see below that my choice is floral.

I have put up some traditional decorations outside and inside my classroom and I have created a special gift for each of my students.  I know they will appreciate having no homework on the first day of the New Year.  

If you would like to download your own copy of the NO HOMEWORK passes
 click on the IMAGE above.

How do you celebrate holidays in your classroom?


  1. Wow! What a great post! Thanks for sharing all the it!! Sounds like you & your class have so much fun! Love the freebie, too! Thanks!

    Primary Inspired

  2. It is wonderful meeting you through Classy! I too am a new author and you have given such a wonderful post to get some really great ideas from! Paper lanterns are my favorite!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. I love this little freebie! How fun! Glad to have you here!

    Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade

    Mrs. Wheeler's TPT


THANKS for taking the time to leave us a comment!