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10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family

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Are you looking for ways to celebrate Chinese New Year with kids? Keep scrolling to find out some simple Chinese New Year traditions you can do with your family in 2024.

You may not be aware, but many people celebrate the Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year. It is also called the Spring Festival since it falls on the first day of spring. If you and your family members are interested in learning about other cultures, Chinese New Year traditions are a fun way to immerse yourself.

Other countries celebrate Chinese New Year because they have a community around them that does. Some families have members who practice it, and they get to see different Chinese New Year celebrations.

Like most celebrations and traditions, this holiday is often celebrated on Chinese New Year’s Eve with food, fun, and family.

My Family’s Chinese New Year Traditions 

As many of you know, my husband is Chinese, and he’s been celebrating Chinese New Year since he was an infant.

However, I’m still learning about Chinese New Year traditions. And so are our kids! Chinese New Year starts on February 10, 2024, and it’s the Year of the Dragon.

Keep scrolling down to learn about 10 Chinese New Year traditions you can start with your family.

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family

Chinese New Year Food

Food plays a huge role in all family get-togethers in my husband’s family. We have family dinners specifically to eat pastrami flown in from Katz’s Deli in NYC or crawfish shipped from New Orleans.

And Chinese New Year is no exception.

Our family actually celebrates Chinese New Year’s Eve with a huge dinner.

My mother-in-law’s signature Chinese New Year dish is her Side Pork. Basically, it’s like a thick slab of bacon but more flavorful and juicy.

It’s quite rich, and she only makes it once a year: Chinese New Year.

I’m a noodle girl, so I always take a heaping portion of the “long life” noodles. They are usually fried with meat and veggies, and they make me feel happy!

And my kids can’t get enough of the dumplings! They like to watch their grandma (who they call “MarMar” in Cantonese) fill each wrapper with a mixture of meat and vegetables and carefully fold the dumplings.

Last year, my oldest got to help make a few dumplings, and he was over the moon!

[irp posts=”9865″ name=”Ling Ling Potstickers: The Perfect Chinese New Year Food”]

Ling Ling Chinese New Year Event in Seattle

Since Chinese New Year is such a big deal in our family, we try to take advantage of all the cool events we have here in Seattle, WA.

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family: Popular TV chef Katie Chin cooks quick and easy Chinese food recipes for a private Seattle blogger event sponsored by Ling Ling.
Chef Katie Chin taught a group of Seattle bloggers how to make quick and easy Chinese food for Chinese New Year.

A few years ago, I was invited to attend the Ling Ling Chinese New Year event featuring Chef Katie Chin at Blue Ribbon Cooking Culinary Center in Seattle.

In case you don’t know, I’m not much of a cook. My husband does most of the cooking at our house, and it’s delicious!

So, I was a bit intimidated going to this event with Seattle-area food bloggers!

But Chef Katie Chin is so friendly, and her stories are so relatable. She made it sound like anyone could make these easy recipes, and she was right!

Normally, I don’t put recipes on my blog. Actually, I think this may be the first. But they are so easy that it would be fun to get kids involved in making food for Chinese New Year!

GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED IN COOKING

The best way to get your kids to eat healthily is to have them help make healthy food.

I suggest taking them to your local Asian grocery store (Uwajimaya and HMart are always fun to explore!) and having your kids grab the ingredients you’ll need for your Chinese New Year feast.

And if you are feeling extra nice, let them wander the snack/candy aisles and pick some treats to eat while they cook!

Ok, here are the easy Chinese New Year recipes your kids can help make:

CHINESE NEW YEAR SIDE DISH RECIPES

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family: Chinese long beans make the ultimate Chinese New Year side dish and it's an easy Chinese recipe.
We couldn’t stop eating these green beans; they were incredible!

Chinese Long Beans with Cashews

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb Chinese long beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2oz roasted cashews

1. Cook the long beans in boiling water until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the beans with a slotted spoon (or colander) to an ice bath until cool (about 2 minutes). Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

3. Dish out and garnish with roasted cashews.

Note: If you use green beans instead of long beans, blanch for 5 minutes instead of 2 minutes.

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family: Chinese eggplant looks more like a zucchini and this Chinese recipe for garlicky eggplant is so easy to make!
This is not your usual eggplant dish; even if you don’t normally like eggplant, you might like this version! It’s a perfect dish for your Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner.

Spicy Garlicky Asian Eggplant

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Asian eggplants, cut in half lengthwise then diagonally into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 hot red chili peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons water

1. Cover the eggplants with water, add the salt and stir to dissolve the salt. Soak the eggplants for 5 minutes, then drain well.

2. In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chili peppers, and reserved eggplant, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. After that, add 2 tablespoons of water and continue stir-frying for 2 more minutes. Add the oyster sauce mixture and stir well to mix. Dish out and serve immediately with hot steaming rice.

Note: You will find Asian eggplant in many Asian markets. You can substitute regular eggplant; cut it lengthwise into 4-6 strips before slicing.

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family: A great Chinese cooking hack is to use a spoon to peel ginger, a popular Chinese food ingredient.
Chef Katie Chin showed us how to use a spoon to peel the skin off ginger!

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Start with Your Family

1. Chinese Zodiac

One of the most iconic traditions during Chinese New Year is talking about the Chinese zodiac.

There are 12 different Chinese zodiacs that cycle year to year. It’s easy to look online to see which animal represents the year in which you were born.

Did you know 2024 is the Year of the Dragon?

If you want to make some crafts related to the Chinese Zodiac, you can download this Easy Chinese New Year Cootie Catchers.

2. Clean Your House

It’s very important to kick off the new year with a clean house. So, families usually do a major cleaning.

If you’ve watched the cultural phenomenon Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, you’re probably pretty excited to purge and re-organize your entire house.

3. Get a Haircut

Make your hair appointments now because you’ll want to start off the new year with a fresh haircut.

There’s a superstition about not getting a haircut during the first month of the new year because it will bring bad luck to your uncles. It’s another one of those cases where Chinese phrases sound similar.

4. Buy a New Outfit + Shoes

My personal favorite Chinese New Year tradition is getting brand-new clothes and shoes!

I mean, I’ll take any excuse, but it’s a nice way to start off the new year on the right foot…inside a new pair of shoes!

And we always wear red on Chinese New Year’s Eve for extra luck!

5. Eat Chinese Food

One of the easiest Chinese New Year traditions to follow is to eat Chinese food! I just gave you a few super easy (and quick) Chinese recipes, but you’ll probably want to make a few more dishes for the full feast.

10 Chinese New Year Traditions to Experience with Your Family: Ling Ling potstickers come in Pork, Chicken, or Vegatarian and are ready to eat within 10 minutes.
Our family always has at least one bag of Ling Ling potstickers in our freezer for a quick dinner.

Ling Ling makes really tasty potstickers and spring rolls, which people eat in hopes of great wealth in the new year.

“Long life” noodles are really long and cooked uncut to symbolize longevity.

You’ll also want to make sure to have a whole fish, as that represents an increase in prosperity (something we all could use!)

Usually, there is also a vegetarian dish called “Buddha’s Delight” that is prepared without meat specifically to honor living things.

And oranges/mandarins with leaves on them symbolize friendship and good luck.

6. Chinese Lion Dancing

For the past few years, we’ve visited our local Asian grocery store for their Lunar New Year celebrations, specifically because they have Chinese Lion Dancing.

It’s really cute because students from a Kung Fu school perform, and some are kids as young as 4 or 5 years old!

In the past, we’ve headed to the Seattle Art Museum for their big celebration that also includes Chinese crafts and Chinese Lion Dancing.

We’ve also attended several of the Chinese Lion Dancing demonstrations at Uwajimaya.

Check your local event calendar listings for a Chinese Lion Dancing celebration near you.

7. Travel to See Family

Out of all the Chinese New Year traditions, spending time with family and loved ones is the most important.

That means people travel back “home” from all over the world.

In fact, in China, it’s known as the “great migration”, and it’s a crazy busy time to travel! And many businesses close so employees can travel to visit their families.

My family is fortunate because my in-laws live about 10 minutes away, so we don’t have to travel far.

But, I love the concept of building on vacation days, specifically to visit family. Many book vacations throughout the year and don’t always leave days available to visit family.

This is a smart way to remind us to go “home” every year.

8. Create Window Paper Art

We haven’t done this before, but I think we will start this year. My 5-year-old is pretty good with scissors and is all about crafts these days!

Traditionally, people cut out auspicious words or patterns on red paper to carry peoples’ good wishes and then past them on windows.

The Fu character (meaning “good luck” and “fortune”) is unsurprisingly the most popular character to cut out!

Other crafts include making a paper lantern or a Chinese dragon puppet.

9. Read Books

This isn’t necessarily a Chinese New Year tradition that all families do, but I like to read my kids books about how other families celebrate Chinese New Year.

Since I didn’t grow up celebrating this holiday, it’s a good way for me to learn alongside them why certain foods are eaten and new ways our family can celebrate.

One of our favorite Chinese New Year books for kids is Grace Lin’s Bringing in the New Year. She has a whole line of very sweet books that celebrate Chinese culture.

10. Lucky Money

My kids look forward to getting their lai see (money in red envelopes) every year.

This is actually a tradition at my son’s preschool. Instead of real money, I put chocolate coins in red envelopes, and my son handed them to his classmates.

It’s a fun way for him to share his Chinese culture with his friends!

Traditionally, you want to have the number 2. So, it’s common for people to put in $2 bills. Whatever you do, avoid the number 4, as it sounds similar to the word “death” and is very bad luck!

Are you looking for a quick and easy Chinese string bean recipe perfect for Chinese New Year? Get popular TV Chef Katie Chin's Chinese Long Bean and Cashew recipe, which is sure to be a hit with your family! It's so simple that your kids can help make it! This could be one of the Chinese New Year traditions you want to try.

How Can Your Family Celebrate Chinese New Year this Year?

So much of Chinese culture is about food.

The easiest way your family can celebrate Chinese New Year traditions is to cook a bag of Ling Ling potstickers.

Ling Ling potstickers make such an easy snack for kids and are great for Chinese New Year traditions for families!
My son and I “cheers” with our Ling Ling potstickers!

They make a great side dish or a quick lunch or dinner. Plus, they pack well in school lunches!

Since Chinese New Year lasts 15 days and we only spend the night prior at my in-law’s house, the rest of the time, it’s up to us to cook the dumplings.

Being a busy mom with two little kids, I don’t have time to make dumplings from scratch. That’s why I love grabbing a bag of Ling Ling potstickers from our freezer!

My kids LOVE eating them, and I love that they are getting protein and veggies in a fun way!

So, following the Chinese New Year tradition, set yourself up for a “wealthy” 2024 by eating Ling Ling potstickers!

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