If you are trying to get your kids excited about Chinese culture and language, of course now is the best time of year to do it. Lion dancers, fireworks, red envelopes, dumplings, drums, dancing, demons… They all make Chinese New Year a pretty enticing time for little ones.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is plenty to do, including the pan-Asian cultural festival at the Oakland Museum which is packed full with kung fu performers, drummers, lion and dragon dancers, arts and crafts activities, food and more. San Francisco holds the biggest Chinese new year parade in the country, on Lantern Festival, at the end of the two week holiday (February 7 this year). The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco will also have a special family event on February 1. On the other coast, outside Boston, the Peabody Essex Museum will hold Chinese New Year activities on January 30-31. ChildBook, an online store selling books and other cultural products, has compiled a list of Chinese New Year activities around the country, so you can find some fun closer to home.
Two books we like that introduce traditions of Chinese New Year, in English, are Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book and D Is for Dragon Dance.
Here is a YouTube video of a Lion Dance that was a favorite in our house after last year’s new year’s festivities: