Happy Chinese New Year! (‘Gong Xi’) Also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, it coincides with the new moon. This year it falls on the 5 February and 2019 is the Year of the Pig! As with any new year celebration, it marks the coming of new beginnings and in China it is a time for families to get together. The Chinese New Year calendar has 12 years in a cycle. Each cycle is named after an animal, in a particular order. The Pig is the last animal in the cycle.  By introducing children to different cultural celebrations, such as Chinese New Year, children can learn to respond to diversity with respect.

Books

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The Year of the Pig

by Charles Hope; illustrated by Jess Racklyeft

Pig had never been a winner. He was last to finish tests. He was last picked for games. He was even the last to have his birthday. It seemed his destiny was to always finish last. But Pig remains optimistic and never gives up hope. Perhaps this would be his year. After all, it was the Year of the Pig!  A sweet story about being true to oneself that also contains non-fiction information about the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Charles Hope is an Australian children’s picture book author, specialising in non-fiction titles.

Peppa’s Chinese New Year

The ever popular Peppa Pig is set to be even more popular in the Year of the Pig! In this bright board book, with its auspicious red and gold cover, Peppa and her friends are excited to celebrate Chinese New Year. Madame Gazelle is teaching them all about this very special celebration. Peppa, her baby brother George and their friends, make Chinese New Year cards, hang lanterns, eat fortune cookies and perform their own special dragon dance. 

Cover Image for REPLACE WITH TITLE OF ITEM
Cover Image for REPLACE WITH TITLE OF ITEM

The Tale of Ping Pong Pig

by Sarah Brennan; illustrated by Harry Harrison

Sarah Brennan is an Australian children’s author (she was born in Tasmania) but lives and works in Hong Kong. She developed a keen interest in and was inspired by Chinese history, culture and folklore. The Tale of Ping Pong Pig is the final installment in her popular Chinese Calendar Tales series based on the Chinese Zodiac. Set in Ming Dynasty China in the new Forbidden City it is a funny and exciting story written in verse. Ping Pong Pig is kind, pretty, feisty and loves to sing and dance. Everybody loves her, but the problem is she is also very tasty! And the mighty Yongle Emperor loves pork! 

Songs

Chinese New Year Dragon Dance

(Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)

See the dragons dance and prance,
dance and prance, dance and prance.
See the dragons dance and prance,
on Chinese New Year’s Day.

See the dragons hop, hop, hop …

See the dragons shake their tails …

See the dragons turn around …

See the dragons go to sleep …

Note: Dragon dances are always part of Chinese New Year celebrations. They are believed to bring good luck and prosperity and to scare away evil spirits.

The Tail of a Pig

(Tune: The Wheels on the Bus)

The tail of a pig goes round and round,
round and round, round and round.
The tail of a pig goes round and round
All day long.

The ears of a pig go twitch, twitch, twitch …

The mouth of a pig goes oink, oink, oink …

The feet of a pig go trot, trot, trot …

Crafty Idea

Let’s make a festive hand drum!

Festive hand drum craft for Year of the Pig

You will need:

  • Two paper plates
  • A large craft popstick
  • Two gold jingle bells
  • Red ribbon
  • Tape
  • Stapler and staples
  • Pig template or colour-in
  • Crayons or textas
  • Glue

Method:

  • Colour in your paper plates and pig template/colour-in.
  • Cut out template and glue to centre of one of the paper plates.
  • Cut two lengths of ribbon and tie each to a jingle bell.
  • On the underside of a paper plate secure the ribbons and popstick with tape.
  • Staple the rims of each plate together.
  • Welcome in the new year to the beat of your own drum!

Did You Know?

A feature film starring Peppa Pig celebrating Chinese New Year will be released in China on 5 February. According to the film trailer, it tells of how two Chinese children, and their friend Peppa Pig, celebrate the festival with their families.