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Celebrate Lunar New Year at Home With Tasty Food, Easy Crafts, and Family Fun

The biggest celebration on the planet is officially here! From music and dance to food and creative crafts, welcome the Year of the Ox with some fun customs and traditions.

Maria Bailey · 4 months ago

Lunar New Year

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The biggest celebration on the planet is officially here, as millions of people around the world prepare to ring in Lunar New Year — the Year of the Ox! Dancing lions charge through the streets, red money packets are exchanged, and delicious feasts are prepared, featuring special dishes that are said to usher in prosperity and good health. This Lunar New Year is an opportunity to embrace the customs and traditions of an annual worldwide celebration, with activities that make a wonderful introduction to kids who are curious about this special day.

But first, who celebrates Lunar New Year?

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While some refer to the holiday as Chinese New Year, a more common and inclusive way to refer to the festivities is Lunar New Year — the holiday is based on the lunar calendar, and people of Chinese descent aren’t the only ones who observe it! Countries such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam (to name only a few) celebrate this special holiday between late January and early February — and this year, Lunar New Year falls on February 12th.

It’s the Year of the Ox, but what does that mean?

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According to the Chinese zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao or Shu Xiang, there are 12 animals associated with the different years in which we are born! They are... rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. As legend has it, these animals can reveal certain traits about an individual's personality, career, and even fortune. This year is the Year of the Ox, an animal that symbolizes hard work, honesty, and positivity, and it is believed we'll all manifest these traits in the next 12 months ahead. Find your birth year according to the lunar calendar and discover which animal you're associated with and what it says about you!

Hit a virtual Lunar New Year party

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Fun fact: Lunar New Year typically sees the largest annual migration of people in the world, as family members get together to celebrate, and people travel to participate in hometown festivities. But this year will be … well, a little different. (You’re probably used to hearing that by now, right?) In 2021, families around the world will spend the holiday at home to help curb the spread of the pandemic. 

Fortunately, there are a number of virtual Lunar New Year celebrations taking place that allow everyone to participate in the holiday’s special traditions at home! The Asia Society is hosting a variety of festive events across several days, including dumpling making, red envelope crafting, and a traditional lion dance performance accompanied by the music of beating drums. Be sure to sign up for reminders, so you’re the first to know when Asia Society’s virtual activities are kicking off! 

Make your own dumplings

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Dumplings are just as fun to make as they are to eat, and they’re a big part of many Lunar New Year celebrations. Word is, the more dumplings you eat during the new year festivities, the more prosperous you will be in the year ahead. But who needs an excuse to eat homemade pockets of deliciousness? Head on over to Miss Panda Chinese to make this dish yourself. 

Create your own Chinese pellet drum

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For more hands-on fun, create a traditional Chinese pellet drum — a favorite instrument for kids to play as they celebrate the new year! This easy-to-build two-sided drum is perfect for providing your own musical accompaniment at home while you watch a virtual lion dance performance. Go to Bicultural Mama to find out how you can make your own.

Make your own paper lanterns

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Fortune Cookie Mom

Lunar New Year festivities traditionally last for about 15 days before the Big Deal Main Event of the annual celebration: The Lantern Festival on February 26th. Lantern Festival Day recognizes the first full moon of the new year, marks the return of spring, and honors the reunion of family! Create your own lanterns with the fam while learning about this special 2,000-year-old festival steeped in history. Go to Fortune Cookie Mom for easy-to-follow steps on how to create your own festive lantern!