Happy New Year!

The Winter BazaarAs you know, we celebrated the New Year with our friends in St. Louis.  This time, I am talking about another New Year.  Last night my book club discussed “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan“, which is set in 19th century China (more about book club here).  No sooner did I finish that book than my copy of “A Free Life” – also set in China – come in at the library.  This is the Kent County “One Book, One County” selection for 2008.

So about this New Year thing.  I have China on the brain, and February 7 is the date for the 2008 Chinese New Year.  It is going to be the “Year of the Rat”.  Somewhat similar to Zodiac signs; your Chinese Astrological sign is determined by your year of birth.  I am happy to say that my honorable husband is a Rat, and he could use a good year. If you would like to determine your sign, click on this link to find your birth year.  You’ll have to scroll down the page a little.

If you live in Grand Rapids and want to celebrate, you’re in luck. The Chinese Association of West Michigan is holding a New Year Celebration.  Check out the website for more information – click on the calendar.  You can also have some Chinese food from one of the many Chinese restaurants in town.  The Visit Grand Rapids website has information about multiculturalism in town, and breaks down information by general region.  Here is the link; click on the ‘Restaurants’ section.

I don’t want any snickering when you read the word ‘multiculturalism’ in the same sentence as Grand Rapids.  Here is a site with more information about early Chinese immigrants to Grand Rapids. I am one woman on a mission to educate our fair city and more importantly, it’s children, as to it’s own abundant cultural resources.  Tasty Tuesday is a big part of this.  One of my favorite outings was to the Wei Wei Palace, and you can read more about that visit in my post,  “You Did What In The Palace?“.

Toward that end, we’ll be having a craft that allows us to talk a little about the Chinese New Year.  It involves scissors, so the kids will need lots of supervision for this one.  I got this craft from Enchanted Learning.


  • Colored paper (construction paper or gift wrapping)
  • Scissors
  • Glue, tape, or a stapler

Fold a rectangular piece of paper in half, making a long, thin rectangle.

Make a series of cuts (about a dozen or more) along the fold line. Don’t cut all the way to the edge of the paper.

Unfold the paper. Glue or staple the short edges of the paper together.

Cut a strip of paper 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Glue or staple this strip of paper across one end of the lantern – this will be the handle of the lantern.

You can make several and string them together; like this:

For more seasonal ideas, head over to Scribbit’s Winter Bazaar.


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