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How to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Children

Posted by Genesis Samson on 01/02/14

For most of us, the only New Year celebration occurs on January 1 and is awash with with fireworks, ball drops, champagne and revelry.  However, it’s not the only New Year celebration and not the most raucous one either.  The Chinese New Year, which follows a completely different calendar, often occurs between late January and late February.  It’s a wild celebration full of dragon and lion dances, colorful lanterns, loud percussion music, and firecrackers.

In the US, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston have some of the biggest celebrations and they’re so much fun to attend.  If you’re thinking about bringing the kids along, here’s how to celebrate Chinese New Year safely and fun:

Hit the streets early

Where there are dragon and lion dances, there are throngs of people.  With kids in tow, it’s best to get to the parade or festivities early before it gets too crowded.  Find a good spot with great sightlines.  If you do come late, stand in the back and put the kids on your shoulders so they can see above everyone else.  The Chinese New Year is such a cool cultural experience and you won’t want your kids to miss out!

Inspire them with a movie

Struggling to explain Chinese New Year to your kids?  Let them watch a movie where Chinese New Year symbols and street parties are included in the theme.  Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice is one great example.  Check out this scene from the Disney movie and watch all our colorful Metallic FETTI float, fly and flutter throughout the street!

Search for ‘normal’ food or bring snacks

Chinese New Year celebrants enjoy many traditional snacks and food during the event, from pork dumplings to vegetable spring rolls to Nian Gao (glutinous rice cake).  While it may be a fascinating experience for adults to try, your kids are less likely to be enthralled by the options.  It’s a good idea to either bring snacks along for the ride or find normal Western food before, after or during the festivities.  Happy tummies equal happier kids.

Replace fireworks and firecrackers with alternative party supplies

Many Chinese New Year celebrations involve large firework displays and tons of firecrackers.  Injuries from such objects are rife and the last thing you want is for your children to get involved with them.  When attending Chinese New Year festivities, you’ll want to provide your kids with an alternative party supply that offers the same level of excitement and a high level of safety.  Our 14” FireCracklers® Confetti Snappers are the perfect solution.  These hand-flick tubes unleash a flurry of red, orange, and yellow confetti and noise-crackling poppers.  You’ll create a barrage of color and sound that will blend seamlessly with the day’s events.

Hand out red envelopes

The stalls at Chinese New Year festivals sell every kind of Chinese souvenir you can think of, but only one symbolizes good luck and is designed to ward off evil spirits.  The famous red envelopes are gifted to children during the New Year for this purpose and contain money.  Consider putting $8 in the slot since 8 is a lucky number in China.  Open it early in the day and tell your children they can only buy snacks or souvenirs with the money in their envelope – it’s a great way to teach money management!

About Flutter FETTI®: Flutter FETTI is an innovator, manufacturer, and worldwide distributor of confetti and streamer products.  Our mission is to bring excitement and joy into every special event in your life.  Contact one of our confettiologists and we’ll make the right product recommendation to add the “WOW!” effect to your Chinese New Year celebration.