Did you know that the Chinese New Year occurs on the first day of theChinese lunar-solar calendar? The celebration lasts until the 15th day (which is also the day of the Lantern Festival). The date of Chinese New Year moves each year, but always land between January 21st and February 20th. This year, in 2024, it falls on February 10, and marks the "Year of the Dragon".
How is it usually celebrated? By putting up decorations, eating a special dinner with family on New Year's Eve (the Chinese New Year's Eve meal is the most important dinner of the year), firecrackers and fireworks, and giving red envelopes and other gifts. Typically, in past years, families gather at a designated relative's house for dinner, but these days, we can gather and have a special dinner with our immediate families in our home, or have an online meet-up with our extended family. What a special time!
On the 15th day (this year will be Saturday, February 24), the lantern festival takes place, which marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. This is when children would go out at night carrying paper lanterns and solve the riddles written on their lanterns. This year, we can participate by making our own paper lantern crafts!
All you will need is construction paper (bonus if it’s red or yellow/gold!), glue, scissors, ruler, pencil, and paints or markers. OR you can use a blank sheet of white paper that you have coloured yourself with a fun pattern! Want to make one for your doll? Follow the same directions, using 1/4 of the sheet (fold it in half, then in half again, and cut on the folds).
1. Start with rectangular sheet of paper. Cut a strip of paper from the long edge of the paper (about 1" width). This will be used as the handle of the lantern.
2. Fold the paper in half lengthwise.
3. Cut strips from the folded edge towards the raw edge. Be careful to keep the strips connected, and do not cut each strip off. (You can also draw a horizontal line using your ruler, one inch from the edge, to guide you so you do not cut all the way through). Continue making strips by cutting the paper all the way to the horizontal line/not to the end. You’ll end up with 10 or 11 strips.
4. Unfold the paper.
5. Connect the paper's ends together around to form a tube. Join the short ends of the paper together with tape or glue.
6. Tape or glue on the handle that you made in the first step.See how many you can make, and string them together on a piece of red string, and hand them up with a grown-ups help. Just use a small piece of tape to keep the lanterns equal distance on the string from one another. You can even add some crepe paper streamers to the bottom, maybe even pompoms, glitter or stickers! Get creative with it and have fun!
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