Chinese New Year is a wonderful celebration that seems to be the opposite of winter’s cold weather and gloomy skies. It’s filled with bright color, vibrant music, and a dancing dragon. More significantly, there is a powerful message for all of us no matter our age or culture.
The celebration is to both wrap up the old year and to begin a new one. In Chinese culture, families celebrate the new year together, some traveling long distances. These reunions strengthen family ties. Especially today, with many family members and friends spread so far apart, it’s a celebration any time we manage to get together, regardless of the date on the calendar.
Get-togethers with family and friends are important for young children. Family events provide children with an opportunity to practice social skills in a safe, comfortable group. Big celebrations can be overwhelming, but there are usually lots of adults that sound and look sort of familiar and are loosely connected. Depending on the size of the event, kids can sometimes be fairly independent of their parents with other grownups to keep track of them too.
When children begin school, meeting all those new people and having so many in one place is quite a challenge. There are more kids than adults so children need to have self-confidence as well as independence. Celebrations within larger groups are a sort of dress rehearsal. They are a bridge or transition from the small family unit to the bigger community. Not every family has big reunions and events. There may be other possibilities in your community for giving kids the opportunity to try their social skills in a bigger group, in preparation for spreading beyond the family. These activities not only help with kindergarten readiness but the life skills of independence and confidence.
Are there some events for Chinese New Year’s in your area that you can enjoy with your family?