You probably won’t see a hint of this in your neighborhood, but I was in a large Asian grocery store in Chinatown last night, and all of the New Year goods and decorations in red remind me that Chinese New Year is less than two weeks away. Last year, we shared some tips on how to prepare for Chinese New Year with your students. This year, we wanted to continue the discussion and help you better celebrate this great time of a year with your students.
Chinese New Year’s Eve is on Friday, January 27 and Chinese New Year is on Saturday, January 28. As usual, there are a lot of celebration activities across the country. Check the Chinatowns or major museums in your city — they might have something planned for you.
Traditional preparations and celebrations can last for about a month in China. It usually starts from housecleaning and New Year shopping, and ends with sweet dumplings (stuffed rice balls) on Lantern Festival. Here is a brief overview of the entire Chinese New Year celebration timeline:
As you can see, after putting up red decorations, the most important event is the reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve. If your international student can’t make it back home to China this year, it would be wonderful that you, your student’s “new family” in U.S., offer to celebrate this special day with a nice dinner. Unlike other festivals, there’s not a specific dish that’s specially meant for this day. Thus, chat with your student, get something you both love, and enjoy the festive meal!
Apart from the big meal on New Year’s Eve, we also recommend giving Lucky Money to your international student. Lucky Money is money in red envelopes, and it is believed to bring good luck. It doesn’t matter how much you put in the envelope – it could be $10, $20, or even $100 or more. Lucky Money is usually given with the wish of health, growth and happiness.
If you want to learn more about Chinese New Year and do something with your international student at the same time, watching a documentary about Chinese New Year is definitely a great option. BBC had a documentary come out last year, named “Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth.” It was very well received both by Chinese and people around the world.
We hope you have another wonderful Chinese New Year! Don’t forget to get a red or gold rooster to decorate your house. If you have any questions, please feel free to tweet at me or share it with the staff at Gphomestay.