What can be more exciting for kids than to attend a celebration involving tigers, dragons, & dumplings? OK maybe that one that includes reindeer, elves, and presents but a Chinese New Year celebration can be very entertaining and educational. Going to a cultural event can be like travelling to another country for a day, without the jet lag. I feel that it is very important to immerse kids into new cultures and traditions as it will better equip them for an ever shrinking global society by learning as much as we can about its citizens. We can’t travel all the time, well most of us anyway, but it does not mean we cannot enjoy cultural experiences in our home town.
Even going out for dinner can be an educational experience. Back in Calgary, one of the many cuisines we enjoyed was Ethiopian where it is custom to eat your food with your hands using a flat bread (like a crepe) called Injera. Eating with your hands is enough of a novelty for kids that it could counteract the hesitation to try the new food and could inspire many questions about Ethiopia that you could be asked to the staff or looked up when you get home. We have also attended many festivals put on by the local cultural societies of Korea, Greece, Denmark, Vietnam, and have taken something away from each one. Chinese New Year is one of those events that we try and do something for each year and we hope to find a family event to welcome the year of the tiger.
Even our new, and smaller, town has something going on for Chinese New Year and if we feel like driving to one of the larger cities nearby we would have many more options. In the past we have enjoyed traditional singing, gone to a banquet, visited a market, and of course seen numerous dragon dances which the kids love. Find out what is going on in your home town. If you can find an advertisement in English than you know that everyone is welcome. While a trip to China would be a wonderful experience, there are many things you can do with your family in the meantime which are enjoyable and educational.