Sunday, February 3, 2019

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

I volunteer at my son's public school library periodically - I like to help the children find books to read. 
One of the head moms who volunteers asked me to make a Chinese New Year exhibit, because they liked the Polar Express train exhibit I made.

I took out a book from the library to learn about the Chinese New Year traditions. Fun!

I found a picture of cherry blossoms on the internet to put in the background because the Chinese New Year celebrates the coming of spring, signified by cherry blossoms.

Here's close-up of the final feast table. I made the dumplings with the sauce, the oranges, the whole fish, and the rice (too large - I'm not patient enough). And I made the flowers.

The dumplings in the bamboo containers are from Thailand. 

The wonton soup and egg rolls are Carolyn's Miniature Creations here.

 Here is some of the text to explain the pyramid of oranges and the use of red:
"Houses are filled with flowers and fruit.
Families display pyramids of oranges and apples.
The Chinese believe red and orange are colors of joy.
You will see the colors of joy everywhere at the Chinese New Year Festival."

And here is the text explaining the whole fish: 
"The Chinese like to feature whole steamed fish on the menu of their New Year’s feasts. Said to signify togetherness, abundance and long life, it’s a dish with symbolism that is as important as taste. Indeed, you’re supposed to leave the bones, head and tail intact, a way to help ensure that the new year will be a winner from beginning to end." I also read that you should leave some leftovers to symbolize a surplus in the year ahead.

I made the noodle dish (with green onions) from polymer clay. Long noodles symbolize longevity.

I made a little window in the room because at midnight the windows are opened to allow good luck to enter the house.

I made a little dress out of red cloth because people like to wear new clothes on the first day of the year.

Here's the Polar Bear Express train exhibit made from a shoe box, oatmeal container, and the little square box minis often ship in :). Our school librarian added some more to it, so it looked even more official. 

Here's the exhibit in progress, before I finished making all the food for the feast. The Chinese characters on the scrolls carry messages of Good Health, Luck, Long Life, Prosperity and Happiness. The broom is because the house is cleaned before the new year as a way of saying good-bye to the old year and preparing for the new year.

I was in the library today to pick up a book and I watched third-graders stop and gather around to look at the exhibit. It made me so happy. 

Happy Chinese New Year!


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  2. Gorgeous! Happy New Year!

    I love your noodles. They look so yummy.

    1. I was so happy with the way the noodles came out.

  3. Super cool, Penelope! It sounds like you had so much fun creating the display, and I bet the kids loved it! It's so wonderful to sneak learning in in really fun ways!

    1. Yes, it is. And I learned a lot too. The kids seemed to love it!

  4. Super sweet!!! My grandchildren loved this movie when they were little. It was adorable!! Am sure the classroom loved it all. Great job!!
    Mini huggs,

    1. Thank you! My son was too scared to watch it (when the train was so dark), but maybe next year. It has a very positive message.

  5. That's a wonderful way to teach children about the traditions of other nations. You did a great job both times!
    Hugs, Drora

    1. Thank you! I do think a diorama helps to explain by creating the visual image.

  6. Everything on the table is DELICIOUS in real life and in your minis! I enjoyed reading about the symbolism regarding the food and the colours but mostly I enjoyed reading about the children gathered around your exhibit- a Double Happiness kind of Feeling! :D

    1. It was a Double Dose of Happiness! That's a great way to describe it. Then I got to present it to my son's class and afterwards, several children asked me how to make things. I told them how to make the oranges: roll a ball out of polymer clay, roll it on fine sandpaper, make indents at either end with a toothpick and cook.