Chinese New Year is fast approaching and it’s always a colourful affair. Here in Birmingham there’s always lots going on because the city has a Chinese quarter, as do London, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle. So it’s worth checking out what public events are going on if you live near somewhere with a large Chinese community.
We decided to start our celebrations early by going to our local Chinese restaurant for a meal. H loves eating out and a Chinese is one of his favourites. He particularly likes the one that we go to regularly because they are very good with children and the owners have two boys H’s age who are often around too. So many Chinese restaurants these days let you choose as much as you want for a set price or have a buffet arrangement. We really like this because we can try out plenty of starters, which for me are the real draw of Chinese food with Yuk Sung being our family favourite.
H always likes to try out eating with chopsticks, but he usually ends up with some cutlery. One of the high points of his meal is getting a fortune cookie to eat and open. H will be getting more Chinese food over the next week as his school do a special themed dinner for Chinese New Year and I have some Chinese items to try cooking with in our latest Degustabox.
It’s difficult to celebrate something if you don’t understand what you are celebrating, so we were grateful to Snowflake Books for the selection they sent us. We read Naughty Monkey which is one of their Stories of Animal Signs Series. It tells the tale of how the monkey became one of the Chinese years and also how this particular monkey became one of the four magic monkeys of the Buddha. H has found the book interesting on a number of different levels. They are lovely story books with great illustrations, which are a great way of introducing a child to another culture. Another thing he found intriguing was the fact that they are written in Chinese too. This feature is designed for children who are learning Chinese, but it really helped him learn about the way that the Chinese language differs from our own, in particular with its very different writing system.
The Story of the New Year Beast is from Snowflake Books’ Chinese Festival Series. It tells the story behind how and why the Chinese celebrate their new year in the way they do. It’s a lovely, colourful book that H has really enjoyed reading. H was also interested in the audio CDs that come with both books so you can listen to the books being read too.
Do you have any plans to celebrate Chinese New Year?