Xian Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year!
Xian Nian Kuai Le!
We said while walking in to flowers class today! Today is Chinese new year and we were excited to greet our friends with “Xian Nian Kuai Le!” (Happy New Year!) We dressed in red because it’s a special color during Chinese New Year. Kai will later tell us a story of why we should wear red. Before that we have some traditional crafts to make and food to cook.
We made a couple of crafts today. One was called “hong bao” or “red envelope” inside the red envelope we added money so we can give it to our friends. It’s tradition to receive hong bao with money in it from our elders. The 福 means “good luck” or “fortune” and 春 means “spring”. During Chinese new year we welcome good luck, prosperity and the coming of spring. We made our own hong bao by folding and gluing it together then we looked at Japanese yen and US Dollar and made our own money.
Since we loved making the snowflakes so much there was another folding a cutting activity. This time we traced the stencil on a folded sheet of origami paper and then cut the shape out. When we opened it, it looked like 春!
What we were most excited about is to see what we made yesterday. The nian gao was sitting on the table waiting for us and the stove top. Kai cut up the very sticky and rubbery nian gao into piece and added some oil on the pot. We put a few piece of nian gao in the pan and looked very carefully while it fried. We needed to look at the color, when it turns golden brown then we can flip it with chopsticks and tongs. Of course, it’s important to taste test the food while you’re cooking to see if cooked properly.
During circle time Kai asked us if we know why all of us are wearing red? “Because it’s Chinese New Year” Ta said. “Yes but why red?” Kai asked. We were stumped, then he told us an ancient story about “Nian”. Nian means year in Chinese but in this story there is an evil dragon named Nian. Every year around Chinese new year Nian would go into town and terrorize the town. One year an old wise man told them that Nian is scared of the color red and loud noises. The next year the town people painted the town red, wore red clothes and set of fire crackers. Nian was so scared of the town that he never returned again. So from then on everyone wore red and set off fire crackers for Chinese new year. That is why we wear red till this day. We also looked at the 7 lucky foods to eat during Chinese new year.
After the story all the nian gao was done and ready to be eaten. We all took a little piece and tried it. It was chewy and sweet kind of like mochi. We can’t end Chinese new year without receiving hong bao! We all took our hong bao and shared it with our friends. Whoever is receiving the hong bao says “Gong xi fa cai, hong bao na lai” which means “Wish you food fortune and give me the red envelope.” We took turns giving it out to our friends.
It was cloudy today but that didn’t stop us from going to the park! During lunch time, we were able to listen to traditional Chinese songs while we ate it was a marvelous celebration!
Gong Xi Fa Cai
Flowers Class Children