Chinese New Year is celebrated to welcome in the Chinese spring. Legend has it that a monster slept throughout the year, but arose on the new year day to consume large amounts of food. The people discovered that the monster was afraid of bright lights, loud noises, and the color red. Thus, the Chinese New Year traditions of lighting lanterns, setting off firecrackers, and wearing the color red were begun.
The Chinese calendar is lunar, based on the phases of the moon. Every year is symbolized by one of twelve animals. This New Year is the Year of the Goat. Chinese New Year in 2015 begins at the new moon on February 19th and ends with the full moon on March 6th.
As Christians, we should be cautious of propagating unscriptural practices, such as astrology, focus on monetary wealth, gambling with mah-jong, pleasing “gods”, and other superstitious practices. Here are some fun ideas that are not unscriptural.
Ok, maybe this one isn’t so fun, and unless you are actually in China, it isn’t quite spring yet. Spring cleaning is symbolic of fresh starts and new beginnings. Why not focus on an internal cleaning, referring to this verse:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Family Reunion Dinner
During the Chinese New Year, families visit together and exchange gifts such as oranges. A reunion dinner is prepared, fish being a must on the menu. Chinese tradition has it that some fish must be left on the plate. Does this remind your child of another meal of fish?
“He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.” Mark 6:37-44
As in America, a New Year is a time to reflect on ways to improve ourselves, and set our minds and hearts to making these changes. Encourage your children to “become new”.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Refrain from Fighting
It is a Chinese tradition to start out the New Year without any arguments or bickering. Refraining from fighting for the 15 day New Years celebration will establish a good habit for the rest of the year. Inspire your children:
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (HCSB)
Remember the monster that was afraid of light? You can make and decorate your house with Paper Lanterns, reminding your children that everything dark and evil is exposed by light.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
While the Chinese wear red to scare off the mythical monster, red symbolizes something very real to Christians:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14
Learn About China
Learn About Goats
Pick a picture book or two about Chinese culture to share with your young children.
Round is a Mooncake Free Unit Study
The Empty Pot Free Unit Study and Lapbook
Love as Strong as Ginger Free Unit Study
Daisy Comes Home Free Unit Study
As you learn about Chinese New Year, why not pray for our oppressed brothers and sisters in Christ, living in China. You can read about Christians in China HERE.