My family’s first experience with Chinese New Year was when my son attended pre-school in central New Jersey and one of his classmates distributed Barney-themed red envelopes filled with a crisp new dollar bill. I thought it was so cool – a cross between Valentine’s Day and Halloween – and I wanted to learn more.
One of the things I like best about the holiday is the communal spirit. Family members work together to prepare treats to help welcome in a prosperous new year. For example, fish, dumplings, mandarin oranges, and noodles are traditional staples in the meal.
To help teach my son about the holiday, we read My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz. The pictures are vivid and the story focuses on how one young girl prepares for the new year. The best part is getting to yell “Gung Hay Fat Choy!” at the end of the book.