Closer Readings Commentary

How are you preparing to celebrate Asian New Year ~ The Year of the Snake?

Next Sunday, February 10 (Calendar | EDSITEment) marks the beginning of The Chinese New Year festival - it is The Year of the Snake! EDSITEment Lesson Animals of the Chinese New Year has background on the colorful customs associated with this red letter day. Our Animals of the Chinese Zodiac Lesson is also a favorite at this time of year with many activities for students to explore the following themes:

  • How does the Chinese calendar work?
  • What are the 12 animals of the zodiac and how were they chosen? What traits are associated with them? How are the animals used as symbols?
  • What is your animal sign, and what traits does it represent?

For Asian New Year, the website of the Asia Society provides a photo gallery of images associated with this celebration The Year of the Snake. This slideshow gives students a glimpse of the preparations underway as people in China travel home to celebrate. It may help to put this year's titular animal in context! Students may not be aware of the difficulties associated with traveling within China to visit relatives including long-lines, sold-out tickets, crowded trains and stations, and uncomfortable train rides that last days. The current state of air pollution in Beijing is also compounding the situation. The spring travel period in China, or chunyun, begins about two weeks before the Lunar New Year and is said to comprise the world's largest single human migration.

Asia Society Kids offers a number of activities, stories, games for you to explore Asian culture in your classes. Asia Society offers an array of educational resources that span the gamut of classroom applications from the Humanities through STEM disciplines: Tap these elementary lessons plans such as Twice Upon a Time: a Multicultural Cinderella as well as secondary lesson plans such as Water is Life.

What are some other ideas for celebrating this month?