Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chinese New Year Preschool Craft: Firecracker Decorations

Chinese New Year (which is actually called Spring Festival in China) festivities are underway here. Today is "New Year's Eve" and the actual Lunisolar New Year Day is tomorrow. This will start the official two weeks of the festival, but really people have been celebrating for at least a week and there are generally festivities for a month or more surrounding the holiday.

During this time there are lots of firecrackers and fireworks going off all over, even in cities where they are less prevalent in general. Today we've heard a lot more than usual and tomorrow night will probably be the biggest firework day of the year (if I remember right from last year).

Updated February 10th:
We learned later that we were kind of confused on the dates. The actual New Year's day this year was February 10, but the festival starts New Year's Eve, so people refer to this as the start of the holiday. So anyway, the biggest firework day is the New Year's Eve night into the New Year's Day. Last night/this morning there was definitely a huge amount of fireworks at midnight. I think we figured out our confusion on this subject now on to other cultural mysteries.)

In addition to lighting off fireworks, firecracker decorations like this one are all over as well. A few days ago we made this simple hanging firework decoration. We don't in any way believe we need real or decorative fireworks to scare away bad luck or vampires, but I thought this would be a good way to explain to our boys that some people here do believe that. That is why they buy and use those things, and why we don't. (Besides the strong focus of visiting with family, the big emphasis of this holiday is good luck for the New Year, and pretty much everything surrounding this holiday has to do with either inviting good luck or keeping bad luck away, so we can't really do anything related to Spring festival without addressing it.)

We also got a lot of tracing practice writing the Chinese characters for firecracker (biānpào, 鞭炮) on each firecracker. If you didn't want to write the characters you could just decorate the red paper with black and/or gold designs as well.

Street-side cart of firecracker and other decorations

Spring Festival Firework Decorations

  • Red scrapbook or construction paper (I cut up a red gift bag with a swirly design that had torn a little, but any sturdy red paper would work)
  • Pencils, pens, markers, or even glitter glue pens
  • Scissors
  • Stapler and staples (or tape could work)
  • String to hang
  1. Cut small rectangles of red paper (mine were about 3x5 inches).
  2. If you want you can write the Chinese character for firecracker (biānpào, 鞭炮) one each piece of paper and have your child trace over it. Or you could have an older child try to write it on their own. Or you can skip the character and just make designs in black or gold.
  3. Curl each piece of paper around to make a small tube and secure with a staple or piece of tape.
  4. Cut some lengths of string and attach on to each tube.
  5. Tie the tubes together at varying heights and hang. 
 If you want you can practice saying, biānpào. The pow sound with the strong falling tone almost sounds like a firecracker, which helps me remember it. :)

1 comment:

  1. i like ur fire crackers. de kids r cute n bright!


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