What is the Chinese New Year? Here is some information from KRP’s Ultimate Holiday Activity Guide from the NIE Institute.
Chinese New Year (cultural/religious)
The traditional Chinese lunar year begins at sunset on the day of the second new moon following the winter solstice. It can begin any time from Jan. 10-Feb. 19 and a special celebration marked by fireworks, a lantern festival, and dragon parades. As part of the new year tradition, people also clean their houses, pay off debts, and give children money in red envelopes. The Chinese New Year, Year of the Monkey begins on February 8 this year.
Explain to students that the ancient Chinese used a lunar calendar that is grouped into sets of 12, with each year represented by an animal. The animals, called zodiac signs, are believed to have certain characteristics that are shared with people born under those signs. Have them compare and contrast the Chinese zodiac to the Western zodiac that people interested in astrology are familiar with. Point them to the Horoscope in your newspaper, for starters. Then allow them to do further research. For fun, ask students to write their own newspaper horoscopes for a specific day of the week.