Chinese New Year Celebration in Cheeky Monkeys
February, 9th 2011

Welcome to Rabbit Year!

What Is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is the most important of the Chinese holidays, and is a time of feasting with the family, celebration, fireworks, and gift-giving. It is a 15-day holiday, beginning on the first day of a new moon and ending with the full moon on the day of the Lantern Festival. The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of Chinese New Year changes every year. The Chinese calendar follows a 12-year pattern with each year named after an animal. There are various stories which explain this. The simplest is that Buddha (or the Jade Emperor) invited all of the animals to join him for a New Year celebration, but only 12 animals turned up. To reward the animals that did come, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived, starting with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. (Find another version of the story to print, below)

Depending on the year you are born, you are believed to have the various character traits of that year's animal.

Chinese New Year Craft Activities

We made some exciting Chinese culture inspired crafts, here they are:

'Kali is cutting up some money to feed the dragon in the Barongsai performance'

Chinese Food Festival

Dim Sum
Dim Sum is a Cantonese term for small snacks. These bite-sized portion
s are prepared using traditional cooking methods such as frying, steaming, stewing and baking. It is designed so that one person may taste a variety of different dishes. Some of these may include rice rolls, lotus leaf rice, turnip cakes, buns, stir-fried green vegetables, soups, etc.


Fun fact:

"The word tea in English, thea in Latin and chay in Turkish, all originated from the word cha in Cantonese or te in Xiamen dialect from the Fujian province of China."

Dragon Fruits


In ancient eastern legends when dragons still roamed the earth, man and beast would do battle for territory. A soldier sent to kill a dragon for his emperor would be aiming to bring back one thing — the prized dragon fruit.

When he thrust his sword into the dragon’s heart, the dragon would breathe out his last fire and also the dragon fruit. This fruit would then be presented to the emperor and the soldier would be revered. The tastiest flesh of the dragon was said to come from his tail, as this is where they believed his fire and fruit was breathed from deep inside his body.

It is said that the emperor’s taste for this delectable flesh is what caused the extinction of the illustrious dragon.


A dragon fruit, also known as a strawberry pear or pithaya, is actually the fruit of a cactus. It originated in South America, but is now cultivated widely across both Americas, Australia and is Vietnam’s biggest export.

There are three main varieties; pink skin with white flesh; pink skin with red flesh; and yellow skinned with white flesh. We, in Bali, can get the white and red flesh from the local markets. The interesting shape of the fruit and the dragon scales look like skin will definitely attract children's attention.

Mandarin Oranges

When the guest arrived, we gave each of them a mandarin orange. According to Chinese culture, Mandarin orange is a symbol of wealth and good fortune.

Fortune Cookies

Rumors that fortune cookies were invented in China are seen as false. In 1989, fortune cookies were reportedly imported into Hong Kong and sold as "genuine American fortune cookies". Wonton Food attempted to expand its fortune cookie business into China in 1992, but gave up after fortune cookies were considered "too American".

A fortune cookie is a crisp cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla and oil with a "fortune" wrapped inside. A "fortune" is a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophecy.

Fortune cookies are often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in some countries particularly America, but are absent in China.

Barongsai/ Dragon Dance

Dragon dance is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture. Like the Lion dance it is most often seen in festive celebrations.

Dragons are believed to bring good luck to people, which is reflected in their qualities that include great power, dignity and wisdom.

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