15th January 2020
Chinese New Year is celebrated worldwide across the months of January and February. It’s also known as the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival, falling on Saturday 25th January this year.
It’s the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar and consists of weeks of preparations and celebrations.
Take a look at some of our suggestions on how to commemorate the Year of the Rat with your Scout group over the next couple of weeks:
Decorate everything red
Did you know? Red in China represents good luck, happiness and celebration.
During the New Year, almost everything is adorned with red lanterns, strings, paper, and various other decorations to welcome good fortune and protect against anything evil. People also wish each other good luck by giving each other money in red envelopes and to encourage prosperity.
Your Scouts could decorate your venue with red paper chains, lanterns and other home-made crafts, all while learning what the colour red symbolises in Chinese culture.
Speaking of crafts, if you visit China, you’ll see the art of paper cutting in lots of places all year round. But during the Spring Festival, these are more prominent with people hanging them from their windows. The shapes are often of animals, Chinese zodiacs, words and food.
Why not buy some red paper and have a go at making these with your group? You could even get your Scouts to cut out their own Chinese zodiac.
Learn about your Chinese zodiac animal
Every year has a Chinese zodiac which is an animal that represents them. This year is the Year of the Rat and will only repeat in another 12.
In Chinese culture, your zodiac determines your fortune for the coming year, marriage compatibility and many more factors in your life, as it’s closely linked to astrology, in a similar way to western horoscopes.
Get your Scouts to learn about the qualities and traits of their Chinese zodiac – you could even incorporate learning about the animals into a game or activity.
Make some delicious Chinese food
The New Year’s feast is an integral part in the Chinese family’s year and every family member must travel back home to celebrate.
Traditionally, dumplings are a big part of every meal during the Chinese New Year but often reserved for the special dinner amongst dishes like spring rolls, noodles, glutinous rice cakes, and meat and vegetables.
Your Scout family can gather round the table and enjoy some Chinese cuisine that you’ve bought or had a go at making together to celebrate the New Year.
Don’t forget to add all of your photos of the occasion to your Scout Websites gallery!