Some of the wonderful benefits of adopting a child from a different culture include exploring, learning about and celebrating the various holidays of that culture. When a child is adopted from an Asian country such as Vietnam , China , Cambodia or Korea,
the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Spring Festival or Lunar New Year (the common name for Chinese New Year and Tet) now may become part of a family's annual traditions.
But where do you start? And when?
The best time to begin incorporating your child's birth-culture into the family is when the child is very young. In this way, a child's sense of identity, cultural awareness and self-esteem become naturally strong. In addition, this gives a family time to learn about and expand their awareness with each passing year.
Celebrating with a local adoption group, ethnic church or group, or college organization fosters deeper ties to your local community and can be a fun outing for everyone. In addition, school is a natural place to celebrate and educate at the same time.
How to plan a classroom Lunar New Year Celebration
First, contact your child's teacher. Teachers welcome the break! Your willingness to give a short presentation with an included activity will very likely be an appreciated gesture by lower-elementary teachers. Just make sure to give your child's teacher plenty of advance notice. Today is a good time to get started!
Next, organize your presentation. For children in kindergarten through third grade, an age appropriate story or fable along with an activity is a perfect 20-30 minute program, which assures that attention and interest stay focused. Capping your presentation off with a gift of red envelopes filled with a lucky chocolate coin is a wonderful idea, but is only appropriate if the teacher gives advance permission.
Tips for a successful Lunar New Year Presentation:
- Have all art supplies 100% prepared in advance. For instance, if you are making New Year Scrolls, confirm that you have enough empty paper-towel tubes, or consider using large straws instead.
- Some children are not as coordinated or simply uninterested in crafts. Consider having a back-up' coloring sheet or dot-to-dot for these children.
- Confirm that your story/fable is age appropriate
- If your presentation includes a parade or lion dance, give everyone 5 minutes at the end for a calming circle time' where you wrap-things up and possibly hand out fortune cookies, red envelopes, or a take home project of calligraphy writing. This give the kids time refocus.
- Finally, hand the teacher or a helper your camera before you begin. Moments like become precious memories you will want to revisit alone and with your child as the years pass.
Want to learn how to make lanterns, red envelopes, dragons and more?
Find dozens of cultural pages, projects, coloring pages and crafts in our Tet and Chinese New Year sections, visit our Culture's Alive area of RainbowKids.com, where everything is free and fun for your child (and you!).
Book Suggestions for Tet and Chinese New Year:
Ten Mice for Tet! Great for young kids with two informative cultural resource pages at the end of the book
Tet: Vietnamese New Year (Best Holiday Books) Great for kids 2nd grade and up
D Is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet (Discover the World) - For young children
The Dancing Dragon - each story page folds out to make a dragon at the end
Chinese New Year For Kids Great for Vietnam, too!
Chinese New Year Crafts (Fun Holiday Crafts Kids Can Do!) New and Fun for all ages!
Many books can be found at your local library, but reserve them as soon as possible. Most important is this: remember to have fun and make memories!