We’ve all heard of it but what exactly is the Lunar New Year? For starters, it is considered by Chinese culture as the time of the year to reunite with family. It is a fifteen-day celebration that is packed full of traditions, fun, and food! According to the Chinese calendar, your birth year could determine your personality traits. Each year is represented by an animal and legends say that people born under that sign have similar traits to the animal. This year is the year of the rabbit which stands for good luck, kindness, and courage. Other Lunar New Year traditions include serving a new year’s eve reunion dinner that includes symbolic foods such as whole fish that represent abundance, good luck, and fortune or noodles for longevity. The last day of the festival features rice balls and the festive finale of lighting up neighborhoods with lanterns! Today, the celebration is not limited to China as it has also spread to many other parts of the world. Let’s join in this colorful and delicious tradition beginning with easy crafts for kids to help immerse in the culture and celebrate another wonderful season that includes the lunar new year!
With 2023 being the year of the rabbit, welcome it with these easy-to-make, rabbit headbands! All you need is construction paper, markers, scissors, and glue. Simply cut out a “band” to fit each participant's head and staple, glue or tape it together. Draw the rabbit in any festive color. Cut it out and glue it to the headband and you're ready to celebrate! This is a craft that is perfect for preschoolers and up!
Rice Krispie Treat Dragons
The dragon represents power, strength, and good luck. The Chinese believe that performing the dragon dance during festivals and celebrations drives away evil spirits and send good luck and blessings. This craft will also drive away hunger and add an adorable touch to your table!
What you’ll need:
Rice Krispie Treats
Red Fruit by the Foot
Multi-colored or yellow Fruit by the Foot
Red mini M&M’s
Wilton candy eyes
Canned frosting, optional
-Cut Rice Krispie Treat bars into small rectangles.
-Wrap the red Fruit by the Foot around the edge of a rectangle and trim to fit. It should stick to itself, or you can secure with a dab of frosting.
-Cut a small piece of red Fruit by the Foot to fit the top of the Rice Krispie Treat and attach with frosting.
-With a toothpick dipped in frosting, attach 2 red Jujube candies at one end for ears.
-Attach 2 candy eyes and 2 mini M&M’s for the nose using frosting.
-Cut 3 small triangles out of the multi-colored Fruit Roll-up.
-With a toothpick dipped in frosting, attach one triangle in the middle of the eyes and one triangle on each side of the head.
-Make the tail using the remaining red Fruit by the Foot, pinching it to make it wavy like ribbon, then attach to the head. (It should stick by itself or you can use frosting to secure.)
Paper Chinese Lanterns
The first paper lanterns were made over two thousand years ago, and today are a part of the culture in much of the East Asian world, especially during a celebration. They represent the gathering of family and a brighter future. Red is the most popular color during the festivities, and now you can craft and celebrate with your own!
What you’ll need:
Toilet paper roll
Yellow or orange paint
Red paper or lightweight cardstock
Optional- sequins, washi tape, glitter pens to decorate
-Paint your toilet roll for the center of the lantern in yellow or orange, using several coats of paint.
-Cut a rectangle from your paper or cardstock approximately 6-7 inches by 6 inches.
-Cut another small strip approximately 1” x 12”.
-Fold the larger piece for the lantern in half lengthwise and draw a line about a half inch up from the free edge.
-Mark every half inch along the folded edge.
-Using scissors, cut from the marks on the folded edge down to the line that you have made.
-After making all the cuts, unfold the card and fold the other way. This means all your pencil markings will be on the inside so you won't see them.
-Apply glue to the top and bottom of your piece of card below your slits…which should be vertical.
-Stick the card to the toilet roll, lining up the top and bottom edges of your card with the top and bottom edges of your toilet roll. You may need to use paper clips to help keep the card in place whilst it’s drying.
-Glue the small strip to the inside of the toilet roll for your lantern's handle.
-Decorate or leave it plain.
The message inside a Fortune Cookie symbolizes luck, wisdom, and fate as well as the unknown. If there is no fortune in a fortune cookie, it is a sign that something good will happen to you soon! Edible or crafted from paper, fortune cookies are a perfect part of the Lunar celebration…and any new year!
What you’ll need:
Colored construction or origami paper
White copy or construction paper
One 4-5 inch round object like a small bowl, lid or plate
Hot glue gun
-Place your round object down on your paper and trace a circle, then cut it out.
-Flip the circle over, add a dot of glue to the colored side, and roll it up like a cannoli.
-Cut a thin, long rectangle out of your white paper and write a fortune on it.
-Slide it into the “cookie”, then turn the cookie so that the seam is on the inside.
-Take the open edges and bend them together so the center will crease and the cookie shape will form.
-Add a dot of hot glue about an inch from the center crease and press the two halves together.
-You can break the paper cookie open, or keep it intact and pretty by sliding the fortune right out.