Chinese New Year is cause for big celebrations in Melbourne each and every year.
Festivals and special events can be found left right and centre with celebratory music, dance and delicious food.
But there is more behind Chinese New Year than going out to celebrate – in fact, spending time with family is a significant part of the celebration.
Chinese New Year is the cause of the largest human migration in the world.
Families living in China are often separated by long distances due to work commitments, but the two-week Chinese New Year holiday gives families the opportunity to come together as one.
Families spend time cooking traditional foods for magnificent feasts, and playing games together in celebration.
Maybe we can take inspiration from this for our multicultural Chinese New Year celebrations with our loved ones?
5 things you can do with your family to celebrate Chinese New Year
The wonderful thing about Australia and in particular, Melbourne, is our ethnic diversity and how enthusiastically we embrace the foods and traditions of different cultures.
Here are some suggestions for how you can spend Chinese New Year for some quality time with your family:
- Cook a traditional Chinese dish with the kids
Dumplings are a great option - find a recipe here: Chinese Pork Dumplings
- Make handmade lanterns with the family
Here’s one example from the Origami Resource Centre.
- Exchange red envelopes with nice messages inside
It is tradition for adults to give children red envelopes with money inside for Chinese New Year, but for a more impactful and meaningful experience try this:
Buy or make a red envelope for each family member, then cut out strips of paper to write messages on. Each family member then writes a nice message or compliment about every other member in the family, then these messages are put into their respective envelopes. When everyone’s finished, the envelopes are distributed and each family member is left with heart-warming messages to read and look back on.
- Reunite with distant family or friends
Whether you’ve just been too busy to catch up or you live far away from each other, take the opportunity to organise a catch up with a relative or friend you haven’t seen in a while. You might even consider a video call for those who live interstate or overseas, or commit to a fortnightly call to catch up with one another.
- Give old clothes a new life
Chinese New Year is traditionally when children would get new or mended clothes. Instead, find a few items of old or unwanted clothing and work together with your kids to give them a new look – tie dye is a great example for this! Here are two websites to get you started: How to Tie Dye an Old White Shirt and How to Tie Dye Shirts 10 Ways
However you decide to celebrate Chinese New Year, we hope you’ll be able to spend quality time with loved ones - and maybe even teach them about some customary Chinese New Year traditions!