I have enjoyed celebrating random holidays with my kids over the years! Anything that puts a smile on their faces and brings us joy is worth putting effort into. Most of these lesser-known holidays are centered around food which makes them easy to celebrate – like Pi Day in March and National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day in April. There are several websites you can look up to find these unique holidays which can be fun to do, especially if you or your kids need some cheering up on any random day. I have yet to find a date without a random holiday to observe.
We also like to observe holidays from other countries including Cinco de Mayo in May and Chinese New Year in February. Well, this year’s Chinese New Year is on February 12 but since it is planned according to the Chinese Lunar calendar, it can fall any day between January 21 to February 20. Learning about and honoring these holidays that are special in other countries has helped my family to learn about other cultures which can be very interesting. In China, New Year’s celebrations can last 7-16 days and people get 7-14 days off of work to spend time with their families.
Though we don’t eat the traditional symbolic foods that are served in China (mostly fish, dumplings, spring rolls, long noodles, rice cakes, fruit, and rice balls), we like to make our own egg rolls and fried rice and have even made our own fortune cookies. I love that this holiday is centered around family, prosperity, joy, and good fortune. We have celebrated this holiday on a much smaller scale but I have done some similar things that are traditional including filling a red envelope with money and notes for each of my children as red is seen as good luck and joy and is used in abundance during their celebrations.
We have made Chinese dragons with popsicle sticks as they often do dragon dances during their beautiful parades; Chinese lanterns as they have a lantern festival when New Year’s comes to a close; and crafts of the zodiac animal of the year which they honor. 2021 is the year of the ox and you can find several ideas here to make an ox with your children. It can also be fun to learn about the symbolism behind the animals and what they represent; we also like to find out which zodiac animal represents the years we were each born.
Lighting some sparklers or other small fireworks you may have as they often have great displays of fireworks, spending time as a family, and decluttering your home are other authentic ways to honor this traditional and important part of the Chinese culture. You could also try a new dish from one of the many great Chinese restaurants we have in our area.
I hope that my children will have fond memories of the times we spent together celebrating Chinese New Year and other fun holidays. I also hope that it helps them to get a small taste of how people live in other areas of the world as we can all learn so much from each other. Plus, most of us could use more family time, prosperity, joy, and good fortune!