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What does the Lunar New Year mean to children?

Updated: Apr 9

A SERIES ON CULTURAL CELEBRATIONS: Lunar New Year (2021)

Lunar New Year is celebrated by millions all over the world. It has particular traditions and symbols, like this year’s astrological animal, the ox. What do all these cultural celebrations with specific traditions mean to children? What can it mean if they’re not familiar with that culture? How can we partake in the celebrations and include our children in the discovery and appreciation of other traditions and holidays? Let’s look at Lunar New Year, celebrated primarily by those of Asian descent. Here are the traditions:

  • Displaying the color red

  • Fireworks and firecrackers

  • Giving oranges or envelopes with money as gifts

  • Family dinner

Meanings:

  • Red signifies wealth, good fortune, and wards off Nian (a lion-like monster who’s afraid of the color red)

  • The envelopes or oranges are gifts to share, signifying sharing wealth and good luck with friends and loved ones

  • Fireworks scare bad spirits and bad luck out of your year

  • And of course, the family is always important. So a celebration with them is de rigueur!


All of these symbols represent the values and well-wishing that help us start a brand new year. They are so concrete that we can explain it to a 3 or 4-year-old and they’ll get the point. Once a year, we stop and appreciate what we are blessed with and do what it takes to keep, protect and share it with our loved ones. It seems like a universal message, doesn’t it? Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Lunar New Year!

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