Involve Children in Chinese ‘Year of the Tiger’ Celebrations

As parents increasingly want their children to experience the world and the cultures within it they find themselves searching for ways to involve their kids in the activities that give the special holidays meaning. This year “过新年 (guò xīnnián) Celebrations for Chinese New year” may have to be spent indoors once again. Although you may not be able to “放鞭炮 (fàng biānpào) set off fireworks” that’s not a problem when you use creativity to bring the festivities indoors for your children to learn from and enjoy. This year of 2022 “新年 (xīnnián) New Year” falls on Tuesday, February 1st and is the year of the “虎 (hǔ)” Tiger.

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The twelve animals that represent the birth year of the twelve earthly branches in China are called “生肖 (shēngxiào) zodiac” and it differs from the constellation zodiac that many westerners use to learn about their horoscope. It further reflects the cultural differences between China and Western countries. Understanding your child’s animal’s attributes and shortcomings is an alternative way to understand your child and other people’s “生肖 (shēngxiào) zodiac” animals attributes as well.
There’s an amusing story about how the Chinese zodiac animals were chosen from among all the animals on the planet. The election of the Zodiac took place in the forest a long time ago, and each of the animals was invited to take part in the festivities. The invitation stated, “The Zodiac will be chosen from the twelve animals that appear at the stream tomorrow morning.” The animals had to cross a rapid current river and reach the finish line on the shore.
“虎 (hǔ) Tigers” are born this year as well as the years 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962. The tiger is considered to be courageous, competitive, unpredictable, and self-assured. They have a pleasant personality and are well-liked by others. However, they are prone to becoming rash, angry, and overindulgent at times.

Example sentence:

Zài    sēnlín    lĭ,  láohŭ  shì  zuì  xiōngmĕng  de  yĕshòu.
在       森林   里,老虎    是   最       凶猛        的    野兽。
The tiger is the most ferocious animal in the forest.
Tigers work hard and express themselves loudly, accomplishing things in a high-handed manner, due to their strong nature and severe judgment. They are authoritative and never contradict themselves.
They can be capable leaders if they have strong confidence and indomitable tenacity. They will not plan ahead of time for anything but will be able to deal with whatever comes their way.
Does this sound like anyone you know? If your child is a tiger, perhaps you can look out for these traits and see how accurate they are.
Many Chinese kids wear hats or shoes with a tiger image for good luck because tigers are such wonderful characters. But you don’t need to buy anything extravagant to celebrate. There are so many fun activities regarding celebrating animals from the zodiac to try right at home.

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Since the Tiger, called “the king of the animals” in China, is usually the center of attention, try making a paper cut out using construction paper to depict either a tiger for 2022 or your child’s own zodiac sign because what child doesn’t also like to be the center of attention?

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If your child is too wild with scissors, fear not! They can still enjoy making animals by paper folding. You may know this as origami or “折纸 ( zhézhǐ ) paper folding”. It’s safe, and helps children with their hand-eye coordination.

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Scrap the paper altogether if you wish and break out the face paint to help your child express their inner animal. Face painting is great for children who love playing make believe and creating an entire imaginary world surrounding the character they have become through a little paint. Go a step further and become your own zodiac animal to role play with your child and put on a play for the rest of the family.

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Ready for a snack? Perfect timing since you can help your child whip up a tiger out of simple ingredients already in your kitchen.
“包子 (bāozi) bao” is a type of yeast-leavened filled bun in various Chinese cuisines. There are many variations in fillings and preparations, though the buns are most often steamed. They are delicious, warm, fluffy treat of stuffing wrapped inside a sweet, white dough. Made with a mix of flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder, milk and oil, the bao is a tad sweeter than its closely related cousin, the dumpling.
How cute are they?! Too cute to eat? No way.
It’s just as easy to use cut-up fruits and veggies to assemble the likeness of a tiger as well.

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You can even teach them a “十二生肖歌 (shí’èr shēngxiào gē) Chinese Zodiac Song” which includes all 12 of the animals so they may sing about their own zodiac animal.
Xiǎo lǎoshǔ dǎ tóur lái,
小老鼠        打头儿 来,
The little rat is the first to come.
Niú  bǎ  tír  tái,
牛    把 蹄儿 抬,
The ox lifts up its hoof.
Lǎohǔ  huítóu  yìshēng  hǒu,
老虎      回头     一声      吼,
The tiger turns around with a roar.
Tùzi   tiào de  kuài,
兔子   跳 得     快,
The rabbit jumps quickly.
Lóng hé  shé wěiba  shuǎi,
龙     和    蛇    尾巴     甩,
The dragon and the snake swing their tails.
Mǎ yáng bùr   mài,
马      羊   步儿  迈,
The horse and sheep step in stride.
Xiǎohóu jīling  bèng  yòu tiào,
小猴        机灵     蹦     又   跳,
The little monkey is clever, and jumping around.
Jī   chàng  tiānxià bái,
鸡     唱       天下     白,
The rooster crows at dawn.
Gǒur tiào   zhūr  jiào,
狗儿    跳    猪儿  叫,
The dog jumps and the pig snorts.
Lǎoshǔ yòu gēn lái,
老鼠      又     跟 来,
The rat comes again.
Shí’èr dòngwù zhuànquān pǎo,
十二      动物       转圈        跑,
These twelve animals run in a circle.
Qǐng bǎ shùnxu   pái.
请      把     顺序    排.
Please place them in order.
So, 你属什么生肖? (Nǐ shǔ shénme shēngxiào?) What is your zodiac? If you aren’t sure, send us a message or comment.

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Wishing you a prosperous year of the Tiger! “虎年兴旺 (hǔ nián xīng wàng)”!

You May Want to Learn More :

“Don’t Say Happy Dragon Boat Festival!”
“Are Your Kids “Tricksters” or “Treaters”?”
”Top 4 Chinese New Year Traditions Explained”

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