Gong Hey Fat Choy
I am not Chinese and I do not have any relatives that are Chinese, but I do love to expose my children to different cultures and religions! I believe that by exposing a child to a new religion or culture it gives them a boarder view of the world and allows them understand that just because we have we different views and different cultural beliefs, we are still the same inside. I want them growing up with quizzical minds and open hearts.
A few weeks ago, my DS8 was watching one of his favourite TV shows when a commercial for the Mandarin restaurant came on. It was advertising a special new menu to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Years. Being a curious child, he asked me what they were talking about. As far as he was concerned New Years had occurred over a month ago and he didn’t understand why the Chinese celebrated it so ‘late’. Instead of surrendering to my lack of knowledge, I decided to bring the celebration of Chinese New Year into our house!
I did a bit of research and decided that it would fun to celebrate Chinese New Years in our house with crafts, learning, and food! While I began making a Chinese inspired meal, the kids partook in some fun crafts to get in to the spirit of the holiday.
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. Unlike traditional calendars, the Chinese calendar is based on the moon phases. The literal translation of the modern Chinese name means Lunar New Year. The first day of the Chinese New Year usually falls between January 21 and February 20. This special occasion is a for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner and cleanse the house of ill-fortune and to make way for good luck.
The first thing we did as a family was discuss our Zodiac Animal.
The Chinese zodiac follows a twelve year cycle, each of the years being named after an animal. The Chinese believe that people born in a particular year take on the characteristics of the animal associated with that year. (source: Topmark)
We decided to make place holders for each member of our family with our Chinese Zodiac sign on it! It was so much fun to discover what animal we were and if we fit those characteristics.
I am a MONKEY
DH is a Goat
DS8 is a Dog
DS6 is RAT
DD3 is a RABBIT
Every party needs some decorations to put you in the party spirit! Paper lanterns are simple paper creations that are hung outside of businesses and homes as sign of celebration in China.
Paper Fortune Cookies:
A fortune cookie is a hard, crisp cookie with a piece of paper and words of wisdom on it. Fortunate cookies are served all across North America as a traditional Chinese dessert, HOWEVER, contrary to popular belief, they are absent in China.
Our Favourite Chinese Meal:
Beef, Carrots and Snow Peas on Rice Noodles
(source: Mr. Food)
- 3/4 cup gluten free beef broth ( I use a gf broth powder mixed with boiling water)
- 1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 pound of stewing beef
- 2 medium-sized onions (omitted due to my children’s dislike)
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
- Create marinated by mixing beef broth, soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger, pepper, brown sugar, and cornstarch together in a bowl and set aside.
- Place butter in a skillet and melt. Add beef and brown over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for 4-5 more minutes.
- Add marinade and cook until sauce has thickened to desired thickness. Serve over rice.