On January 1, much of the Western world celebrated the coming of a new year, heralding healthy resolutions, goals, and anticipation for what another 365 days could hold.
This year, January 31 marked the first day of the Chinese New Year, where people from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, and many other Eastern countries celebrated with firecrackers and bright red decorations. Houses are cleaned thoroughly in order to "sweep" away anything that might be bad luck and to make room for any good luck and fortune the new year might bring.
One fantastic way to learn more about such cultures, and to help kids learn about them too, is to read about them. Children's books are a great method of communicating different traditions from other cultures and countries because they are done from a child's perspective and from authors who know how best to teach and convey that new information.
"Happy, Happy New Year," by Demi Hitz is a children's book that explains the rituals and traditions that go along with celebrating the Chinese new year. Such rituals include the cleansing of the house that was mentioned previously, as well as collecting and paying debts. Hitz then takes the reader into the more celebratory aspects of the holiday, such as firecrackers, lion dances, certain foods that are cooked and eaten and much more.
The explanations of the holiday are accompanied by bright, colorful pictures, a delight for younger kids to look at and picture what the celebration would really be like.
For more on Demi Hitz's works, check out this website.