Every year, around this time, my family looks forward to celebrating Chinese New Year. We knew hardly anything about this holiday before bringing our daughter, Laney, home from China in 2007. Since then, we’ve celebrated it each year. Granted our celebrations are, no doubt, Americanized and far from authentic! For our family though, it’s an important way for us to remember and celebrate a bit of the beauty from our daughter’s birth culture.
Chinese New Year is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. It is also referred to as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year. There is no set date each year for Chinese New Year, which lasts 15 days. It is based on the lunar calendar and falls between mid-January and mid-February each year. This year it begins on February 12th.
Our celebrations have grown and changed right along with our kids.
Some years we’ve celebrated with other families that have adopted from China by spending an afternoon making dumplings from scratch. Other years, we’ve attended celebrations that included Lion Dances, fireworks, and beautiful Chinese dancers.
When our children were younger, they loved dressing up for our celebration by wearing traditional Chinese clothes! We made paper lanterns out of construction paper and other fun crafts. Now we have teenagers and are past the days of paper lanterns. Last year, we spent an afternoon in Atlanta’s Chinatown in Chamblee. We started out with Dim Sum at the Oriental Pearl, strolled through the shops and Asian Supermarket.
No matter the age of our kids though, one highlight of Chinese New Year is the Red Envelopes. It’s a tradition in China to give these brightly colored envelopes filled with money to symbolize good luck in the new year. Through the years, we’ve sometimes put a dollar or two inside and some years we’ve filled them with chocolate gold coins!
Our simple ways of celebrating each year remind us of God’s big, beautiful world and how very blessed we are to experience other cultures because of our personal connection to China.
Listed below are some local ways to continue the celebration!
Lunar New Year at Atlantic Station
See Lunar New Year-themed décor and traditions, including a 90-foot red dragon with more than 25,000 lights and lantern shows at Atlantic Station through Feb. 28.
Lunar New Year at Children's Museum of Atlanta
On Feb. 13, hear a Lunar New Year storytime, celebrate with bubble wrap fireworks and make paper lanterns. Reservations required.
Give Dim Sum a Try!
Oriental Pearl 5399 New Peachtree Rd., Chamblee, GA
Cornerstone families- Do you have a tradition from your own culture that others might find interesting? Email us to share your traditions, we would love to feature you in an upcoming blog.