Growing up in China, I was fortunate to experience my culture first-hand. Chinese New Year is no doubt my all time favorite holiday. Families travel long distances to celebrate the lunar new year together. Now that my children are growing up in the U.S., I want to keep the Chinese traditions going so they can learn about their culture and heritage.
New Years Eve dinner is always a big deal. I remember seeing my family busy preparing delicious food in the kitchen - a sweet childhood memory for me to this date. It always gives me a warm feeling whenever I think about it. We decorate the house with couplet on the door, papercut decorations on the window - they all bring good luck for the upcoming year.
The sound of firecrackers and laughter, the lights from fireworks outside the window, the smell of good food served steaming hot right out of the kitchen, the red envelops, the midnight dumpling making, the wear-something-red complete my childhood Chinese New Year memory. Something I wish my children can experience and learn. So here's what we did to celebrate Chinese New Year at home.🙂
腊八(La ba) is a Chinese holiday that starts the count down for Chinese New Year. The tradition is to make 腊八粥 (8 grain congee) on Laba day to celebrate this festival. So I made the 8 grain congee with my daughter Arielle for the first time and she absolutely loved it!
It's a fun activity for my 2 year old toddler. I used the different grains to make a sensory bowl for her. Asked her to help clean the grains and then transfer them into instant pot. She gets to touch and feel the different textures. Learn about the names of the grains and smell them. It's also a great fine motor skill practice to transfer the grains from one bowl to another.
She loves the idea of cooking with mama and making food together. She's been obsessed with her little kitchen toy lately doing tons of pretend play cooking. So this was the perfect practical life activity for sure. I love that through activities like this we can start to instill the heritage and traditions in our kids for them to learn about their roots and culture.
What does Chinese New Year look like at your home? Book with us now to document this priceless memory. Because photos are one of the few things that preserves the legacies and stories. Looking back at your old photos, have you ever realized how much they mean to you now?
Happy Chinese New Year! From our family to yours.
Mountain Leaf Photography