Celebrating Chinese New Year

Celebrating Chinese New Year In a Multicultural Family

About The Chinese New Year


Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is around the corner. Sixteen days long New Year is considered the most important celebration in Taiwan. The Festival begins on New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival. Some families will start the preparations five to seven days before New Year’s Eve.

I grew up in Taiwan before moving to Spain, and the Chinese New Year is considered the most important event of the year for me as well. It is time for families to be together, similar to Christmas in Western countries.

People follow many traditions each year, and this is how we celebrate in Taiwan.

Pre-Chinese New Year Preparation

Most people in Taiwan thoroughly clean their house, representing sweeping away the bad luck, bidding farewell to the old year, and getting ready to welcome in the New Year with a clean environment.

One week before New Year’s eve, my mother was busy shopping for The New Year. She prepares a reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve for four generations of family members, with a total of fifteen adults and several children yearly. As well as fruits, flowers, decorations, snacks, and new clothes; There is a tradition of wearing new clothes during the New Year; it symbolizes a fresh start. Therefore, everything you wear ideally is all new.

Chinese New Year’s Eve

My family wakes up early in the morning on New Year’s Eve.  It is a tradition that all family members meet at the ancestral shrine; my family honors the ancestors before the Spring Festival every year. The purpose is to remember previous generations and ensure the continuation of the family line.

Most people begin to put up the decorations like Spring Couplets on New Year’s Eve, which also expresses happiness and hope for the coming year. The couplets vary in content and style and can be poetic and calligraphic art.

Later that afternoon, family members will start to arrive at their parents’ home to join the reunion dinner. Reunion dinner is one of the significant events during the New Year. Many people have gone through traffic and traveled a long distance to make it for this dinner.

Besides a table of delicious food prepared by the mother, the family spends quality time watching New Year’s TV shows and playing card games or mahjong. One of the major activities is for the elderly will begin to hand out a red envelope enclosed with lucky money to the junior family members, blessing them for a good year to come. 


Chinese New Year Celebration

On the first day of New Year, we wear new clothes, preferably in red. We greet “gongxifacai” (恭喜發財) to people you see, wishing each other good luck and happiness in the New Year.

Many Taiwanese will also visit temples. Some arrive at temples shortly after midnight to be the first prayers of the new year. However, most people wait until the next day to pack into the crowded temples to thank god for their blessing in the past year and to pray for good fortune throughout the upcoming year. Before moving to Spain, this is one of the activities I will also join my family.  

As a cross-culture parents, it gives us a new perspective on how we should celebrate and pass on the tradition to our children. Our main goal is to balance tradition with modernity; we build our cultures and celebrate in our way. Moving to Spain certainly makes the celebration more challenging, and most of our family members are overseas. However, it does not stop us from introducing Chinese New Year to our multicultural children.

Teaching multicultural kids about the Chinese New Year

Being a multilingual child, Chinese New Year is definitely tackling the Mandarin part of language learning. Research shows that toddlers can learn Chinese characters naturally by the age of three, just like the other objects in daily life. 

Generally, children between ages 3 and 6 begin to develop reading skills, though some may be ready earlier or later than that range. However, it’s never too early to introduce Chinese characters to multilingual toddlers. In Taiwan, children see Chinese characters everywhere! But in Barcelona, we will need to make an extra effort for our multilingual kids to expose to more Chinese characters

Knowing simple Chinese New Year’s characters

Over the weekend, we begin to prepare for our first New Year decorations. I have cut a few 3D Chinese characters “Spring”(春), which means the Spring Festival. Most Taiwanese write the character “Spring” (春) on beautiful red color paper and paste it on the wall.

There are many ways to decorate the 3D characters, such as stickers, hand painting, and drawing. Simple art and craft activities are fun and engaging. When my three-year-old toddler first saw the character, her first reaction was to go for the “triangle” and “squares” area and start to express her interest in these shapes.

Arts and crafts not only help in the physical and social development of toddlers. it also introduces a simple and essential character to my multilingual children in a fun way.

Besides the character “Spring” (春) that was previously introduced, I have also placed another Chinese Character, “Ji” (吉), which means good luck. “Ji” is also one of the most used characters during the Chinese New Year, from street decorations to television programs to red envelope design.

Before introducing the “Ji” (吉) character to the children, I added the rainbow and trees to the drawing paper. Incorporating elements that the children are recently interested in can attract their visual attention

Over the course of two weeks of Chinese New Year,  there are many ways to design a few activities to introduce this important event to our multicultural children. Here are some of the suggestions: 

THREE Simple Goals To Achieve Through Chinese New Year Clean-up Activities With Toddlers

Teaching Toddlers About Money After Receiving Chinese New Year Red Envelope

Multicultural Family Celebrates Chinese New Year Lantern Festival


Chinese New Year | Multicultural Kid BlogsWelcome to our sixth annual Chinese New Year blog hop! Lunar New Year, more commonly known as Chinese New Year, starts on January 25 this year. It is the beginning of the Year of the Rat, and we have lots of great ideas for celebrating it with kids! Don't miss our series from last year, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and you can find even more on our Chinese New Year Pinterest board:

Participating Blogs

Fortune Cookie Mom on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Ways to Get Your Children Involved During Chinese New Year

Crafty Moms Share: Lunar New Year Books

Miss Panda Chinese: Kitchen God and the Preparation for the Lunar New Year

BiculturalMama: Little Sen’s Chinese Holidays Bilingual Picture Book

Sophic Orb: Chinese New Year Story Time Idea

Nanani World: Chinese New Year In a Multicultural Family

Creative World of Varya: Celebrating Chinese New Year in Modern China

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