Chinese New Year - Year of the Rabbit

2023 Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rabbit

The Chinese New Year is upon us once again! This special occasion is celebrated all over the world by people of Chinese descent. It is also known as the Spring Festival, as it marks the beginning of the spring season in the Chinese calendar.

The Year of the Rabbit is considered to be a lucky year, so we can expect good things to come our way. If you’re looking to celebrate the Chinese New Year with your students here are some fun traditions that you can take part in: 

+ putting up Chinese New Years decorations in your classroom
+ gifting red envelopes full of play money to your students

+ doing a clean-up of your classroom with your students - to let the New Year have a fresh start

+ watching lion and dragon dances on YouTube

What is the Chinese New Year?

The Chinese New Year is a special occasion that is celebrated all over the world by people of Chinese descent. It is also known as the Spring Festival, as it marks the beginning of the spring season in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year, but it is always between January 21 and February 20.

Why is the Year of the Rabbit special?

The Year of the Rabbit is considered to be a lucky year, so we can expect good things to come our way. According to Chinese tradition, those born in the Year of the Rabbit are said to be blessed with good fortune, luck, and prosperity.

Looking for a stress-free way to teach your kids about Chinese New Year? Check out our best-selling Chinese New year fun-fact booklet that is used and loved all over the world. 

Five fun ways to celebrate the New Year in your classroom

The New Year is an excellent holiday to be talked about and celebrated in the classroom because it is a secular, neutral holiday that people of all beliefs can gather around. This is especially practical if you teach in a particularly multicultural environment.

There are so many symbols and actions related to the New Year that are fun to explore in a classroom setting.

Here are five fun activities in tune with the New Year celebration that you could try out in your own classroom.

Word games

Word games are always a good exercise for the brain and are especially fun and competitive in groups. For example, children can compete by creating words out of all of the letters in "Happy New Year". The winner is a student (or a team) who is the quickest to remember and write down all the words - and spell them right, of course. Spelling can make quite a difference in who will win the word game competition since spelling errors can easily occur in a hurry!

For older children you can make the game more challenging by limiting subjects (e.g. only names of animal species).

Reflecting on the old year artistically

Students can reflect on the passing year in various creative ways. There is ofcourse creative writing they could explore using experiences they have had in the past year, painting the year that was, or talking to a buddy about their year and then sharing their own experiences to compare and contrast the year that was. For extra fun, ask your students to draw a storyboard or a comic about significant things that happened to them that year.

New Year resolutions

New Year resolutions never get old. Although resolutions are a real New Year stereotype, they are always engaging. This is especially true for slightly older students, whose minds are always busy with hopes, dreams, and plans for the future.

Have your students write both personal resolutions and school-related resolutions. If you decide to share them in a class, give your students an option to skip the personal resolutions if they're really private.

New Year paper hats

Get creative and bright by creating these, or similar New Year hats for the New Year's Eve celebration. Lots of bright colours are there as a symbol of hope for a joyous and cheerful 2019.

New Year all around the world

Take your students on an imagined journey around the world and explore how the New Year is celebrated in various corners of the Earth. From New York's big public countdown by up to million people to Sydney's impressive fireworks, to dragon-dominated Chinese New Year which falls on a different date every year, all of the world's countries have some specific and unique ways of celebrating. Showing children different faces of the same celebration makes them aware of the diversity that our world offers.

May the upcoming year be a joyful one!

Looking for a low prep option this New YearWhy not check out my popular New Years Activity Pack.


How to honor those students who don't celebrate Christmas

For student's who don't celebrate Christmas in an environment where most of the children get to enjoy the full spectrum of holiday activities, this beautiful time of year can be stressful. If you don't pay attention to their unique situation, it is inevitable that they will start feeling alienated, deserted or singled out.

Here are several pieces of advice on how to successfully manage a situation when some of your students don't celebrate Christmas.

Talk to their parents or guardians and learn the limits

Talking to parents or guardians about how they perceive the holidays that they don't celebrate is the first thing to do.

Some parents or guardians don't object that their children participate in holiday activities and will take time to explain the difference between holidays they celebrate within their family, religion and community, and the holidays that other communities honor.

Other parents object their child's participation and would rather have their child to stay out of the holiday activities.

Both options are valid, just note that the latter case takes more preparation and pre-meditation. Never encourage a child to participate in activities that the family doesn't approve of since this will unavoidably create internal conflict within the student's mind, and possibly an external conflict as well.

Get thoughtful about Christmas events 

Individual schools and teachers have different policies and approach the case of Christmas events in various ways. Some schools treat all essentially religious holidays solely as a part of the educational curriculum, without actually celebrating them, while other schools celebrate and organize special Christmas events.

If your school does celebrate Christmas, and there is enough consideration on all sides, there is no need for some activities like Christmas plays to be limited. These activities can always be adapted to be educational and suit all the students.

Here's where good communication and cooperation with parents come into the picture again. For example, you can arrange with the parents to pick up the child before an activity that the child will not be a part of starts (always plan these activities at the end of the day). To make it up, collect the non-perishable items such as candy and neutral decorations as a gift to the child. If there are limitations to what the student can eat, perhaps it is better to give the package to parents so they can check what's appropriate.

If the family doesn't reject the notion of a Christmas school play or celebration in general, find a way to include their child neutrally. For example, ask them if their child can open a play by reciting a winter-related poem, or if he or she can play the role of Winter, or something similar. That way your student can be a part of the play without coming into conflict with his or her family’s beliefs.

Provide plenty of neutral activities 

At Christmas time you can provide plenty of activities that the children who celebrate will subconsciously associate with Christmas. Snowflakes and snow (for those with a winter Christmas), for example, are at the same time a Christmas classic and acceptable to children of all beliefs. Options are many - plentiful - from learning about how snowflakes form and the Earth's water cycle to making easy and beautiful paper snowflakes.

Also, by teaching about the Polar Circle during the Christmas time, students will get to learn about reindeers, local customs and Santa's home without the specific focus Santa and his crew.

By creative pre-meditation and good cooperation with the entire family, children who don't celebrate Christmas can still enjoy various fun activities and experience a bit of the holiday euphoria without creating internal or external conflict. After all, the time of Christmas is a time of love, and that is a precious feeling we all can share.