Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chinese New Year According To My Son's Mandarin Homework.

Both of my kids are learning to speak and write in Mandarin at their school. This morning after I cleaned out my son's backpack, I pulled a sheet of Mandarin homework for vocabulary review pertaining to Chinese New Year, so I thought I'd share with you what was on the sheet!

We are really excited about spending the holiday here in Hong Kong and we're hoping to fully participate in as many festivities as possible.

Another name for Chinese New Year is "gun - hay - fat - choow". "Gong - sshee faa-tseye" {happiness and prosperity} is a common way to greet each other throughout the period of Chinese New Year.  There is a big focus on honoring family members during this time. A family will meet together at the eldest living parents' house even though the rest of the family may live all over Hong Kong. It is the custom to stay up late on the eve of Chinese New Year.

It's also common to give out red packets which are filled with money to bring luck and seal blessings. Children {and single ladies} receive these from adults on Chinese New Year. Older relatives will give the red packets of money to the younger relatives for good fortune. The envelopes are also known as "ang pow". 

Food is a large part of the Chinese New Year holiday. Foods including fish and dumplings {which are considered auspicious in the Chinese culture} are served either at home or at a restaurant. Dumplings is a food served as the last dish on Chinese New Year's Eve and represents "surplus". Chocolate gold coins is a food served on the eve as well, and represents "gold treasure". Oranges is a fruit that sounds like "good luck" in Mandarin.

There are special performances of the traditional lion or dragon dances during the Chinese New Year holiday that bring good luck and are associated with drums and firecrackers. Fireworks is a kind of small explosive that creates noise and smoke that claim to scare the evil spirits away.

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