Category Archives: Chinese (Mandarin)

Four Fun Activities For Chinese New Year!

I’m part of the Multicultural Kids Blog Hop for Chinese or Lunar New Year! I hope you enjoy these activities and also get a chance to check out all the other great posts below! There’s lots to do, read, create and explore at this exciting time of year.

Here are four fun and easy ways to introduce or celebrate Chinese New Year with your child.

Explore The Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Astrology screensnapEvery year at the Lunar New Year we enter a different sign of the Chinese Zodiac. In February of this year, we leave the year of the dog and enter the Year of the Pig. People born this year known as “Pigs” or belonging to the pig and have certain special traits, lucky numbers, unlucky number and lucky colors. In fact, if you were born in 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947 or 1935 – you’re a pig, too. The next year of the pig will occur in 2031.

But wait – there’s more. We’re not just going into the year of the pig, we’ve left the year of the brown Earth Dog and are heading into the year of the Earth Pig. Each year’s zodiac sign is not only one of the 12 animals, but also possesses the trait of one of  the five elements – Wood, Water, Fire, Earth and Gold (Metal). Because there are 12 signs and 5 elements, each specific year’s animal such as a water dragon or a Fire Rooster will only come along once every 60 years.

In case you were wondering, the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

If you’re exploring the Chinese Zodiac, here are some fun activities:

Discover this years animal symbol from the Chinese Zodiac.

Discover your birth year’s symbolic animal from the Chinese Zodiac.

Discover which element is attached to your birth year’s symbolic animal.

Look at the special traits associated with your birth year’s symbolic animal. Do they describe you?

Look up the lucky colors from your birth year’s symbolic animal.

Look up the lucky numbers from your birth year’s symbolic animal.

Look up the unlucky numbers from your birth year’s symbolic animal.

Try any of the steps above with a friend or family member.

Make a chart or drawing of your family’s symbolic animals. Is mom a dragon? Is your baby brother a snake?

Color The Earth Pig!

year of the pigUp for some coloring? Below under “resources” is a link to this freebie coloring page of a pig created in the style of Chinese paper cutting. This is a fun design or decoration you can use in your Lunar New Year celebration.

Make Your Own Gong!

You can use your colorful pig artwork to make your own gong from a pie plate or disposable pan. It isn’t hard to Daria's homemade gongfind materials to recycle in any home that can be used for the gong, the striker and a support for a homemade gong. Make is as simple or elaborate as you like. We went all-out and managed to hang ours between two chairs. It sounded amazing!

Fireworks In The House Or The Classroom!

Last year I visited a preschool in Philadelphia’s Chinatown section and loved an idea that one of the teachers used. She distributed bubble wrap to each of her students and then played a video of fireworks with the sound turned   off. As the students saw the fireworks, they were able to create their own fireworks or firecracker sound effects and they giggled, laughed and cheered as if they were at a real fireworks display during Chinese New Year. It was a creative and safe way to experience the fun, noise and activity of this holiday in the safety of a classroom environment.

Visit These Other Great Posts!

新年快乐

Chinese New Year | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fifth annual Chinese New Year blog hop! Lunar New Year, more commonly known as Chinese New Year, starts on February 5. It is the beginning of the Year of the Pig, and we have lots of great ideas for celebrating it with kids! Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and you can find even more on our Chinese New Year Pinterest board:

 

Participating Blogs

Miss Panda Chinese on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Bicultural Mama

Creative World of Varya

All Done Monkey

Tiny Tapping Toes

Links And Resources

Free Birth Year Chart from TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Astrology-Birth-Year-Chart-4306472

Free Year of The Pig Coloring Page  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-New-Year-Year-Of-The-Pig-Coloring-Page-4303192

Free MYO Gong Activity from TPT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

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Tips For Learning Christmas Songs in Other Languages

Screen shot 2018-12-13 at 7.36.20 PMThe winter holidays are a fun time to explore celebrations and traditions from around the world. When you do, why not learn a favorite Christmas carol in another language? You might want to choose a language from your family’s heritage or maybe one from the community around you. Maybe you’re living as an expat in another country and want to embrace one of their favorite songs, or just reach out and expand your linguistic abilities.

Check out these helpful tips on learning a song in another language with your kids or dive right into our version of Jingle Bells in Russian below! Beneath that, we’ve included links to past posts on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer in Japanese and Jingle Bells in Mandarin, plus a fun cheat sheet that shares holiday greetings in 18 different world languages

LANGUAGE LEARNING TIPS

Pick a song that’s fun to sing and has a catchy tune!

Pick a language from your family heritage or one you’d like to learn.

Pick a language where someone you know can help you with the lyrics or pronunciation. Will Grandma help with that song in Italian or Papou help with a carol in Greece?

If learning the whole song is too daunting (language is difficult or your kids are very young), just learn the chorus – that’s usually very easy to master.

Write out the lyrics phonetically. Break them down into easy-to-pronounce syllables.

Praise you kids (or yourself) for exploring a new language. Learning a new language is not easy but encouragement and praise help a new speaker gain both confidence and capacity!

A video of a new song or a live “singing Christmas card” makes a great gift for a grandparent or loved one abroad.

Enjoy the process as you make happy holiday memories.

Now, here’s a version of Jingle bells for anyone wishing to learn a bit of Russian this year!

Links And Resources

Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer in Japanese http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/favorite-holiday-songs-rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer-in-japanese

Jingle Bells In Chinese – http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/favorite-holiday-songs-from-around-the-world-jingle-bells-in-chinese/

Happy Holidays in 18 Languages – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Happy-Holidays-in-18-Languages-2230358

Introducing The Music of China To Children

Hi! I’m Elizabeth, a mother and music teacher. I’m thrilled to be guest-posting on Tiny Tapping Toes today about Chinese music- I’m excited to connect with you and share some of my ideas!
china post ttt graphic
As a music teacher who grew up among cultures, I am passionate about introducing children to music from cultures other than their home culture. Although it can be intimidating to share a culture with your children that you aren’t that familiar with yourself, it can be such a rewarding learning experience for everyone, and the benefits are incredible! Today I want to share some of my favorite simple ways to introduce the music and culture of China to young children.

I know this is not exactly a traditional way to start, but I usually use a clip or two of 12 Girls Band to first introduce children to Chinese music. This is a great one:

Also this:

We of course discuss which instruments are traditionally Chinese and which or not- that part is pretty clear- but it is a great way to showcase many of the instruments from China, see how they are played and what they sound like, and also get a taste of what Chinese music is like while still sounding somewhat familiar- this is like the gateway to exploring the traditional music that will sound more foreign and strange to their ears. Plus it is so much fun!I use these recordings as a starting point to jump into a discussion of Chinese instruments, including the erhu, xiao, dizi, pipa, guzheng (duzheng), and yangqin.

After showing one of the “Twelve Girls Band” videos, I usually show them pictures of each instrument, tell them the name of each one, and see if they noticed how each one is played, or what familiar instrument it is most similar to. Then we watch one more video and I have them point out and identify each instrument as we see it. I use that as an introduction to Chinese music as a whole, but in subsequent lessons I will show them short clips of each instrument in a more traditional setting. This one is great for showing short excerpts of lots of different instruments:

I have used a lot of different songs in my classes over the years. There is so much that is included, both historically and geographically, when we talk about “Chinese music”, that it’s honestly hard for me to pick one song! The last few years I have used “Cowboy” (I know, you’re already thinking what? stay with me…). I don’t generally like to teach songs from other cultures with translated lyrics- I think it takes away from giving the students an authentic presentation of the song- so I always try to find songs that have fewer lyrics while still being interesting. This one fits the bill (although, let’s be honest, we are talking about a rather difficult language for English speakers- it will still take some time!) and has some great possibilities for discussions about Chinese history, architecture, and/or geography. You can find the original lyrics, the translation, the notation, and a sung recording on Mama Lisa’s website here.

With any of the songs that I use, I will usually add some simple rhythms on percussion instruments. Here is an example of some of the percussion parts I might add (this one has tambourine, hand drum, and finger cymbals):

Gongs, triangles, and rhythm sticks would also be good choices for adding some quick instrument accompaniment.

One more thing that I like to cover is Beijing (Peking) Opera. I don’t introduce this genre until we are well into our study of Chinese music, because I don’t want students to immediately start laughing or draw back in disgust, but it is such a significant part of Chinese music that I think it is important for students to at least be exposed to it when they study the music of China in general. I usually use a clip from this video to show in class (it is nice because it has the English translation underneath- so it is important to check and make sure the material is appropriate before you show it! I haven’t come across anything that is not, but I haven’t watched the whole thing so please do check beforehand):

I usually introduce the genre by telling students that Beijing opera is one of the most famous forms of Chinese music historically. I also tell them in advance that it is going to sound and look very different from what they are expecting, but that I want them to tell me what they notice after watching.  Most students tell me that they notice the performers moving with the instruments, their makeup and costumes are very dramatic, and they sound like they are half-singing and half-speaking. We often end up having a very good conversation about what the definition of music is, because there are usually some students who question whether or not this “counts” as music at all! You can learn more about the genre here and here.

I hope you found some new ideas for exploring Chinese music and culture with your children! Thank you so much to Daria for letting me share my ideas on her site. I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to stay in touch with me, please head on over to my site, Organized Chaos, where I share resources and thoughts to give parents and teachers the freedom to be creative through purposeful organization and broadened perspectives. You can find more posts on sharing music from other cultures right here. I hope you’ll stop in to say hello!

Links And Resources

Make Your Own Chinese Gong Craft
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Color A Chinese Erhu
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Instrument-Erhu-Free-Coloring-Page-3236532

Bolang Gu creft + real oneMake Your Own Bolang Gu Chinese Pellet Drum!
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/make-your-own-bolang-gu-chinese-pellet-drum/

Seven Days of Learning Mandarin Through Music
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/7-days-of-learning-mandarin-chinese-through-music/

Win The “Kids Around The World” Mama Lisa Songbook!

mama-lisa-songbookHave you read out enthusiastic review of our new favorite kid’s international songbook?

Well, we’re excited to say that – thanks to Mama Lisa’s World -  we are giving away 2 digital copies of this amazing encyclopedia of 100 songs from diverse world cultures.  That’s 352 awesome pages of songs, song descriptions, translations, sheet music and even details of how certain songs are used as games and activities.

Of course, we’d love for you to read the whole review here: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/family-fun-2/a-trip-around-the-world-in-song/  but feel free to jump to the give-away and enter to win below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Easy Chinese New Year Song!

Chinese New year Image

Chinese New Year lasts for a full 15 days of festivities.  It’s a great opportunity to combine fun and play with learning more about Chinese language and culture.

And if you don’t speak any Mandarin, don’t worry. This popular New Year’s song -Gong Xi Gong Xi -  is really easy for both children and adults to learn.  Here is a version in pinyin and English as well as two video versions to help you sing or share this song with children at this exciting time of year.

Gong Xi Gong Xi

Měi tiáo dà jiē xiǎo xiàng (Every big street little alley)

Měi gè rén de zuǐ lǐ (In everyone’s mouth)

Jiàn miàn dì yī jù huà (The first sentence (we) say when (we) see each other)

Jiù shì gong xǐ gong xǐ (Must be” “Congratulations! Congratulations!”)

Gōng xǐ, gong xǐ, gong xǐ nǐ ya, (Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations to you!)

Gong xǐ, gong xǐ, gong xǐ nǐ (Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations to you!)

Videos

Ni Hao Kai Lan Gong Xi Gong Xi

Links And Resources 

Bolang Gu  - Craft versionMake a Bolang Gu – Monkey Drum https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Make Your Own Chinese Gong https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Explore and Make Tibetan Handbells https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Explore-Tibetan-Handbells-Plus-a-Make-Your-Own-Handbell-Craft-560016

Erhu - Color ImageColor an Erhu – A Two-Stringed Chinese Violin https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Erhu-Chinese-Violin-Instruments-From-Around-The-World-1037355

About Chinese New Year

“Gong Xi! Gong Xi!” – The Excitement of Chinese New Year https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/gong-xi-gong-xi-the-excitement-of-chinese-new-year/

Chinese New Year ScrollsWhat To Expect In The Year of The Monkey http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/2016/01/18/year-of-the-monkey-chinese-new-year/

Chinese New Year Astrology Chart – Find Your Birth Year Here! https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Astrology-Chart-What-Lunar-Year-Is-It-2377484b

Chinese New Year – Crafts And Creativity!

Chinese Dumplings For New Year  http://kidworldcitizen.org/2016/02/08/8935/

Lucky Money Envelops  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/lucky-money-envelopes

Chinese Paper Lantern Craft – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/462956036675678391/

How To Make Paper Fortune Cookies http://unsophisticook.com/how-to-make-paper-fortune-cookies/

Recipes To Celebrate Chinese New Year http://intheplayroom.co.uk/2015/01/26/chinese-recipes-celebrate-chinese-new-year/

Picture Books Celebrating Chinese New Year http://youthlitreviews.com/2014/01/13/chinese-new-year-books-for-kids/

Chinese New Year Music Crafts For Kids!

mandarinBoyRedHave you heard? February 8th marked the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year and it’s the year of the Fire Monkey.

If you’re unfamiliar with Chinese New Year, here is our compilation post that shares some wonderful ways to learn more and celebrate right in your home or classroom.  The first group of posts are music and music-related, but we just could not resist adding ones about food, fun and other festivities!

And stay tuned for our next post that teaches you a very familiar and easy-to-learn Chinese New Year song!

Music Crafts For Chinese New Year

Bolang Gu  - Craft versionMake a Bolang Gu – Monkey Drum https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

Make Your Own Chinese Gong https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Explore and Make Tibetan Handbells https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Explore-Tibetan-Handbells-Plus-a-Make-Your-Own-Handbell-Craft-560016

Erhu - Color ImageColor an Erhu – A Two-Stringed Chinese Violin https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Erhu-Chinese-Violin-Instruments-From-Around-The-World-1037355

About Chinese New Year

“Gong Xi! Gong Xi!” – The Excitement of Chinese New Year https://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/gong-xi-gong-xi-the-excitement-of-chinese-new-year/

Chinese New Year ScrollsWhat To Expect In The Year of The Monkey http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/2016/01/18/year-of-the-monkey-chinese-new-year/

Chinese New Year Astrology Chart – Find Your Birth Year Here! https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-Astrology-Chart-What-Lunar-Year-Is-It-2377484b

dragon dance imageChinese New Year – Crafts And Creativity!

Chinese Dumplings For New Year  http://kidworldcitizen.org/2016/02/08/8935/

Lucky Money Envelops  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/lucky-money-envelopes

Chinese Paper Lantern Craft – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/462956036675678391/

How To Make Paper Fortune Cookies http://unsophisticook.com/how-to-make-paper-fortune-cookies/

Recipes To Celebrate Chinese New Year http://intheplayroom.co.uk/2015/01/26/chinese-recipes-celebrate-chinese-new-year/

Picture Books Celebrating Chinese New Year http://youthlitreviews.com/2014/01/13/chinese-new-year-books-for-kids/

Favorite Holiday Songs For Kids – Silent Night In Mandarin

Screen shot 2015-12-24 at 10.16.47 AMWant to hear an absolutely beautiful version of the song Silent Night in Mandarin?  Thanks to our friend; Toni Wang, you can visit the website – A Little Mandarin – and hear her beautiful translation of this classic Christmas song.  Just click here to enjoy and share:

http://alittlemandarin.com/2015/12/23/happy-holidays-from-alm/

Isn’t it wonderful to see how these meaningful winter holidays are cherished and celebrated all around the planet?

A merry multicultural and multilingual Christmas to all!

Links and Resources

Favorite Holiday Songs From Around The World – Jingle Bells in Chinese
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/favorite-holiday-songs-from-around-the-world-jingle-bells-in-chinese/

Favorite Holiday Songs – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer In Japanese!

 別名花の
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/uncategorized/favorite-holiday-songs-rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer-in-japanese%E2%80%A8%E2%80%A8-%E5%88%A5%E5%90%8D%E8%8A%B1%E3%81%AE/

Jingle Bells Video With Happy Holidays in 18 languages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC7aUOKBfUM

Best-Loved Songs For Children – Feliz Navidad! http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/best-loved-songs-for-children-feliz-navidad/

Celebrate Chinese (Lunar) New Year With A Year of The Sheep Gong!

sheep gong craft picBang a gong and everyone listens!

Gongs are amazing, loud, inspiring instruments, but where can you find one?  If you have some basic supplies, then you can craft one right in your own home or classroom.  And you can decorate your new gong with a Chinese zodiac symbol or some other creative theme.

Supplies

Large metal pan (like a recycled pie tin, pizza pan, or a turkey roasting pan)
Pipecleaners or yarn
a smaller pie-tin gongStick, broomstick or long cardboard tube
Paint, stickers, glitter, glue or textured paint for decorating the gong
12 – 18” wooden dowel or wooden spoon (for the drum beater)
Colorful tape (for the drum beater)

Step By Step Directions

You can find step-by-step instructions as a pdf on DARIA’s world music for kids website or in her TeachersPayTeachers store.  Both are free, here:

http://www.dariamusic.com/docs/chinesegong.pdf

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

horse gong imageWhat Year Is It?

In February 2015, we’ve entered into the year of the sheep or the goat.   You can see an image of a ram on the pie tin gong at the top of this post!  But, there are 12 Chinese Zodiac signs so you may also want to use any of the other animals as part of your design.  You might also want to find out what year you were born in.

Take a look at the chart below and you can find out if you are a pig, an ox, a monkey or a rat!

Chinese ZodiacLinks and Resources

Bolang Gu on redMake Your Own Bolang Gu  (Monkey Drum)
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/make-your-own-bolang-gu-chinese-pellet-drum

Kids Music Videos of Chinese New Year Drums and Celebrations
http://multikidsmusicvids.com/?cat=97

Two Popular Chinese New Years Songs
http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/chinese-mandarin/two-wonderful-songs-to-celebrate-chinese-new-year

“Gong Xi! Gong Xi!” – The Excitement of Chinese New Year
http://makingmulticulturalmusic.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/gong-xi-gong-xi-the-excitement-of-chinese-new-year/

Make Your Own Bolang Gu – Chinese Pellet Drum!

doggy bolang gu

The Chinese Lunar New Year is quickly approaching!   Here’s a fun musical craft for one of the most popular noise-makers played by children at this time of year.

The Bolang Gu (波浪鼓;pinyin: bo lang gu) is a simple instrument also called a monkey drum, a pellet drum or a rattle drum.  It’s  a two-sided drum with small beads or pellets attached to it’s sides. When the drum is played the pellets bounce off both sides and create a really unique sound.  Although these clever little instruments are often used by street vendors and seen as children’s toys, they also date back to ceremonies held in the Song Dynasty of China and are part of religious rituals in Tibet, Mongolia, India, and Taiwan.

Make Your Own Bolang Gu

Bolang gu suppliesMaking your own version of this creative little craft is easy.  The supplies you need for one drum are: 2 paper plates, 1 cardboard paper towel roll, stapler, tape, a bit of string or twine, 2 beads and any materials you like for decoration.

Decorate Your Drum

If you’re going to decorate your plates, it helps to do this first. In fact, it can be a good idea to have many plates and try lots of designs, then select your favorites for the two faces of your drum.

What themes to use for your decorations? Choose any of the Chinese zodiac animals, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese New Year printables or whatever else inspires you! Once your plates are created, move on to the next step.

Assemble Your Drum

Place your two paper plates “back-to-back”. Apply a few staples to hold them in place. Press the top part of your cardboard tube together slightly and insert about 1 – 2 inches inside the paper plates, where you want the handle to be. Bolang Gu halfway craftContinue stapling around the plates until you reach the other side and staple right up to the handle. This should hold it firmly in place, but you can also add decorative tape to make it even more sturdy and to add a design element.

Add the Pellets

Now it’s time to add the beads. Start my making two holes on the right and left side of the drum halfway up the paper plates. Use a hole punch to make your 2 holes or have an adult help by poking the holes in the paper plates with the tip of a nail or an awl. Knot a bead onto a small piece of string, twine or embroidery thread and tie onto each side, leaving about 2 – 3 inches of string. The length of string allows the beads to bounce back and forth to create the signature sound of the drum.

Play Your Drum

Although this little drum looks so simple, there are actually quite a few ways to play it. Place the handle between two hands and “rub” back and forth for the classic sound effect of a monkey drum. Or hold in one hand and rotate the drum back and forth while you move your arm like a dancer. In fact, if you take a look at the video below, the three dancers are using bolang gu as part of a wonderful and energetic dance routine.

Feel free to get just as creative and make up your own moves and inventive ways to make music with your new drum!

Links And Resources

Make a Bolang Gu -  Activity PDF:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Monkey-Drum-Chinese-New-Year-Drum-Craft-1748044

colorful brown dog screensnapMake Your Own Chinese Gong – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Make-Your-Own-Chinese-Gong-From-Recycled-Materials-486935

Year of the Dog Artwork https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-New-Year-Brown-Dog-Art-Work-for-2-Musical-Crafts-3644746

Color an Erhu – A Two-Stringed Chinese Violin https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Erhu-Chinese-Violin-Instruments-From-Around-The-World-1037355

Gong Xi Gong Xi- About The Song Plus Lyrics https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Chinese-New-year-Song-Gong-Xi-Gong-Xi-3629545

Two Wonderful Songs To Celebrate Chinese New Year!

mandarinBoyRedWe are so pleased to have a guest post about Chinese Lunar New Year by the very talented vocalist and musician Toni Wang, from A Little Mandarin.  Make sure you read until the end to find out how to get a FREE download of her wonderful version of the traditional Happy New Year Song.

There are many ways to enjoy and introduce children to Chinese New Year but one of the nicest is through music.  Much like Christmas music seems to permeate the air in the US and Europe for the month of December ‘New Years Music’ suffuses China during the 15 day New Year holiday.  Holiday songs can be heard on the radio, in the stores and on the streets.

The Happy New Year Song (Xīn Nián Hǎo   新年好)  is a great introduction to Chinese New Year traditions.

Chinese New Years Song

This song expresses the joy and fun of celebrating the New Year.  Along the way it points out some of the many New Years traditions.  The song opens with “Four seasons harvest is in”, like many cultures New Year is a time to celebrate the achievements of the past year and to look forward to the upcoming year.

 “In the streets and alleys are firecrackers”, firecrackers are one of the many traditional ways to ring in the New Year. You may have noticed this tradition borrowed in your own country.  During New Year people light firecrackers and hang red paper decorations or banners to ward off evil spirits.

“Dragon dances, stilt walking are two more traditional activities.  Stilt walking is a traditional Chinese folk art, practiced especially in Northern China.  Dragon dances can be seen in many towns and cities in China and across the world.  The dragon in Chinese culture is benevolent and thought to bring good luck.  The dragon dance is a vibrant way to scare away evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year.  One dancer controls the head and the rest make up to body.  The length of the dragon depends on how many dancer the troupe has and can be over one hundred feet long!  Proper timing and coordination is essential for the dancers to make the dragon shimmer and wave down the street.  Look for the “Pearl of the Dragon”, a person in front waving a stick with a big ball on top.  This person serves as a conductor showing the dragon which way to go.  The dragon dance is usually accompanied by drums, cymbal or gongs filling the air with music.

“Welcome the wealth god, welcome wealth”  The fifth day of the Chinese New Year is the day to welcome the god of wealth into your house.  Better leave a door open or stay home to make sure he can get in providing prosperity for the next year.  Children will have already enjoyed receiving Red Envelopes on the first day of New Year.  The red envelopes have crisp bills tucked inside lucky red paper. “Wearing new clothes, wearing a new hat” During New Year people traditionally don their new clothing to symbolize welcoming new things.

There are many ways to participate in Chinese New Year celebrations around the world.  You can see if your city or town has a Dragon dance or Lion dance show or perhaps a lantern festival celebrating the end on the fifteenth day of the New Year.  You can listen to that song here and use it to discuss the many Chinese New Year traditions mentioned within the lyrics.

Free Download of Happy New Year Song, Xīn Nián Hǎo

Get your free download of Toni’s version of the traditional Happy New Year song, Xīn Nián Hǎo, here: http://app.topspin.net/store/artist/23507?wId=184933&src=tw&awesm=t.opsp.in_d0hUr&w=300&h=80&theme=black&highlightColor=0x00A1FF .  Her acclaimed first album is available from Itunes and Amazon at the links below.

Toni is a Shanghai-born NYC mom raising her three children in English, Mandarin and French.  She produced A Little Mandarin as a way to provide high quality Mandarin language children’s music for her own children.  Her album has fifteen tracks providing a modern update to classic Chinese children’s music.  Anyone who has been to China will recognize these children’s songs and should enjoy the refreshingly modern take.

“The singer has a beautiful vocal range and the ability to sing popular children’s song in Mandarin. The music itself is cheerful, and upbeat! This is a perfect addition to anyone’s musical library, and a must when exposing children to different languages.” – Frances Evans, Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes.

mandarin
A Little Mandarin Children’s CD from Itunes:
A Little Mandarin Children’s CD from Amazon: