Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Chinese New Year

During the summer Byron and I had to take 10 hours of online parent training each to complete our home study requirements. Part of the parent training recommended that we find ways to celebrate our new child's culture and background. We have done this with our three biological children already. I am of Irish decent, so on St. Patrick's day we have an Irish dinner and read about Irish culture and listen to Irish music. Byron is half hispanic and so on Cinco de Mayo we celebrate their hispanic heritage. It only makes sense to celebrate our adopted child's heritage and culture as well and we decided to start right now! In China they have a big celebration on the start of the lunar new year (this year it is January 31). Here in the USA we call it Chinese New Year, but in China they call it the Spring Festival. This year I decided to mesh our New Year's traditions with some of the Spring Festival traditions to celebrate our New Year in honor of this being the year we will bring our little one home. We may have just started some new Serna family traditions, though! 

One of our New Year's traditions is to hide a dollar outside on New Year's Eve. On New Year's Day we go outside and bring our hidden money in. This is something my mom did with me every year. She said it was for a prosperous year. In China on New Year's Day the children are all given money in red envelopes. Red is a symbol of luck in China. To bring the two together, I placed our dollars in red envelopes and then on New Year's Eve, we all hid our envelopes outside. 

On New Year's Eve in China, they celebrate with a big feast. It usually consists of soup and Chinese dumplings. We had dumplings, egg rolls and rice for dinner - and ate with chopsticks! We each got a fortune cookie for dessert as well.

After dinner we had our second annual Minute-to-Win-It competitions!

Our first game tied in our Asian theme - we placed marshmallows in bowls using chopsticks. The person with the most marshmallows at the end of a minute won a point for their team. We played boys versus girls and the boys won. I told Selah it was ok - next year we will have an extra player on our team to even things up.

After our games it was about time to ring in the New Year (in Brazil). We headed downstairs and got our poppers and noise makers ready. Then we counted down the new year. 

Selah changed our year sign from 2013 to 2014.

The next morning we went out to find our red envelopes:

We had decorated the day before with paper lanterns, dragon puppets and oranges. It is also tradition in China to "sweep away the bad luck" on New Year's eve - so we cleaned house on New Year's Eve, too. 

In China instead of the Parade of Roses, they have a dragon parade. We made dragon puppets and then had our own dragon parade.

Another tradition of ours is our New Year's cake which has a trinket in it. Whoever gets the piece with the trinket in it gets a dollar! 

Selah found the trinket!

We had Shrimp Gumbo for dinner (with black-eyed peas in it). It was a beautiful day, so we also took a trip down to the park. It was a great start to the new year - and we have SO MUCH to look forward to this year!!!

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