This Chinese New Year promises good fortune and big changes. Why? The Chinese zodiac calendar is divided into 12 year cycles, with each year represented by an animal. On January 23, 2012, the year of the dragon begins. The dragon, as the only mythical creature of the Chinese zodiac, promises positive change.
Some of my favorite memories of celebrating Chinese New Year as a kid include going to visit relatives and receiving "lai see," or red envelopes filled with money. We would greet relatives with "Gung hay fat choy!", which means "Best wishes and happy new year!" in Cantonese, and be rewarded with red envelopes. The red envelopes, filled with money, are doled out by married adults and elders to children for good luck and prosperity. The money inside is usually an even amount, although historically the number 4 is avoided and the number 8 is particularly lucky.
It isn't long until Chinese New Year, so start saving up if you're married and, if you're not, be prepared for a payday! We've gathered some projects to get you started with Chinese New Year celebrations. Gung hay fat choy and Happy Year of the Dragon!
(To make the heart-shaped Chinese New Year envelope pictured above visit Instructables.)
Chinese New Year 'Welcome' Door Hanger
Greet visitors with this simple door hanger. Print out the Chinese characters for "Welcome" and use them as a pattern. Trace the characters in gold glitter glue or gold paint and add orange foam circles to represent oranges and tangerines, symbols of luck and wealth.
Check out Kaboose for full instructions.
Egg Box Dragon Puppet
Chinese New Year parades often end with a dragon dance, during which several people operate an elaborate dragon costume. Create your own miniature dragon by recycling an old egg carton.
Head to FamilyFun to learn how to make your own dragon puppet.
If you have some extra construction paper lying around, grab some scissors and make this paper puppet. Brass fasteners connect the different parts of the dragon, so you can make it move!
Flying Dragon Puppet
Plastic cups, paper towel rolls and colored paper are the main supplies you'll need to make this flying dragon puppet with the kids.
Crochet an appliqué dragon to add some Year of the Dragon charm to all of your knit projects.
DIY Dragon Tails
These dragon tails are a simple and adorable toy for kids to celebrate the Chinese New Year. You'll need some non-stretch fabric, velcro and batting.
Make these cute felt slippers to keep the wee one's toes warm this winter.
Paper Fortune Cookies
Create custom messages for your friends and family. This project would be a great Valentine's Day craft too! First write out all of the fortunes on small slips of paper. Then grab some paper cupcake baking liners, fold them in half, add the fortunes and glue the bottom of the liners.
Make a paper wreath incorporating red and gold to decorate your home. Cut out a cardboard ring as the base, then fold colorful pieces of paper and glue or staple them onto the base until the cardboard is fully covered.
Marbled Red Vinasse Eggs
Try this marbled eggs recipe for a delicious (and one of a kind) Chinese New Year's treat. Make sure to start early, since they'll need to soak in a red wine sauce overnight.
Traditional Baked Mooncake Recipe
Mooncakes filled with egg yolks and lotus seed paste are often shared and eaten during Chinese holidays. Impress your friends by making your own!