Thursday, February 19, 2015

Welcome year of the Goat!

Today marks the first day of the Chinese New Year!  Goodbye year of the horse, hello year of the goat!  (or sheep?)

China has used the Gregorian calendar (same one as us) since 1912 but the Chinese New Year is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar.  The date (which you probably noticed changes from year to year) is based on the 2nd new moon after the Winter Solstice.

Roughly 1/6 of the world celebrates this holiday, and not just in China.  There are also celebrations in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and any other place with a significant population of people with Chinese ancestry. In the USA the biggest celebration is in San Fransisco.

If you want to wish someone a happy new year in Mandarin Chinese (the language spoken by about 70% of the country) you can say to them: "Xin Nian Kuai Le!"  (pronounced "zeen neean kwai luh")

Want to celebrate?  Here are some ideas how you can too!

  • Eat Chinese food!  Order it, buy it at the store, or best yet, make your own!  Stop in the library and check out the cookbooks we have:
    • Chinese Cooking for Beginners by Su-Huei Huang
    • The Complete Chinese Cookbook by Ken Hom
    • Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop
    • Flavors of China by Clare Ferguson
    • Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin Fei Lo
    • The Shun Lee Cookbook by Michael Tong
  • Clean your house, get a haircut, or buy new clothes.  Or do all three!  These are traditional ways the Chinese celebrate the New Year that are easy for anyone
  • Find a video of a Chinese New Year parade online to watch 
  • Try making a dragon mask or a Chinese lantern
  • Since its the year of the sheep/goat, why not make some cute sheep cupcakes?
  • A traditional gift to give is a red envelope with either cash or chocolate coins inside.  These are usually just given to children.
  • Spend time with your family and friends.  A good tip for any holiday, or any day of the year!
  • Safely set off some fireworks
One last idea for celebrating the Chinese New!

YA GN YAN – American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang - Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format.
YA GN YAN – Boxers & Saints – Gene Luen Yang - In China in 1898 bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough: harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers--commoners trained in kung fu--who fight to free China from "foreign devils."
YA GN YAN – Level Up – Gene Luen Yang - Dennis, the son of Chinese immigrants, yearns to play video games like his friends and, upon his strict father's death, becomes obsessed with them but later, realizing how his father sacrificed for him, he chooses a nobler path.
YA SFF WIL – Dragon Keeper – Carole Wilkinson - An orphan slave girl becomes a Dragon Keeper when she heroically comes to the aid of an aging dragon and both go on a dangerous journey across China to protect a mysterious stone vital to the dragon's legacy.

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