Monday, 16 January 2012

Chinese New Year - For The Pre-schoolers

It's almost Chinese New Year (CNY), and I thought perhaps we should promote it a bit and get Abby's school friends involved.

We first thought of giving out 利是 (Lei Si) - Red Packets. Traditionally, these little red envelops contain a piece of red paper with blessing words written on them, for example, 祝你身體健康 (Chuk Nei San Thai Kien Hong) - wish you good health. They are given during special occasions such as CNY or weddings, mainly from the married to singles.

Nowadays, these red pockets contain money, again given to singles and mostly children from the married. It's the time of the year where children 'earn' their pocket money by wishing people well (whatever blessings they can come up with).

We are putting a gold chocolate coin into each red pocket instead.

福 upside down
Then I thought, perhaps we can make it more fun for the kids to get involved, instead of just receiving a red pocket.

I drew and printed some simple 揮春 (Fai Chun) - CNY traditional decoration, with blessings written in black or gold on a piece of red paper, for the kids to decorate and bring home. (Fook) means blessing. It's to be hang upside down to mean 福到 (Fook Dough) - Blessing arrived. (I know I know, stop swearing now)

There was a lot of red paper left and I suddenly remembered making Chinese fire crackers at school. I made 2 bunches for the nursery to hang up in the pre-schoolers' room as decoration.

To make:

If you are interested in making these (never thought of doing craft on my blog by the way), all you need is squares of red card paper, curl them up and staple both ends. Then staple one end of each on a string as close together as possible.

Abby in her Qi Pao
Since I've been talking about greetings:

Abby on the right shows the posture to greet in CNY (shaking hands up and down while saying the greetings).

Typical greeting is: 恭喜發財 (Kung Hei Faat Choi)! , which means 'Wish you a prosperous New Year!' (not a direct translation). And the cheeky version is 恭喜發財! 利是逗來 (Lei Si Tau Loi)!, which directly translates to 'Lei Si has been asked for!' Whole thing means 'Give me a red pocket now that I have wished you well!'

And since I showed Abby's Qi Pao:

Top Left: Chinese Endless knot, is a Buddhism logo, meaning infinity, and brings good luck as well as fulfilling your wishes.

Bottom Left: Chinese Phoenix and Dragon

Bottom Middle: Chinese traditional copper coin, now a sign/ logo for protection

I was talking to a fellow blogger about CNY food, I'll probably post about that seperately.