Celebrating Culture in the Year of the Dog

Asian Adventures

I’m a little late, but Chúc mừng năm mới and Xīnnián kuàile! Or, Happy New Year! (in Vietnamese and Chinese).  It’s the Year of the Dog!

We have always tried to incorporate the boys’ homeland culture and traditions as much as possible by attending Asian festivals, going to Chinatowns and Little Saigons in cities we visit, reading books about China and Vietnam;  and eating and making cuisine. They are both proud that they were born in China and Vietnam.

Brown sugar rice cakes

One of our favorite things to do is celebrate Asian holidays. For the Autumn Moon Festival, we make moon cakes (although after a disastrous attempt two years ago, we make sugar cookies instead). Last year, we attended Catholic Mass at a Vietnamese parish for Tet.  Mass was said in Vietnamese and then we joined their Tet celebration after. They handed out red envelopes to all of the children, had incredible food, and even had a lion dance that Nate participated in.

We also celebrate Chinese New Year and Tet at the boys’ school every year. I love that our school allows us to share their culture. We eat Vietnamese and Chinese food (pho and fortune cookies get the best reactions): hand out candy to symbolize a year of sweetness: play games with the Vietnamese/Chinese zodiac chart, talk about their traditions and how it relates to holidays in the U.S., and make crafts. We have also read stories about celebrating Tet and Chinese New Year, made a Tet tree where the kids write their wishes for the year and then hang them on a branch and the boys wear traditional clothing. This year we handed out red envelopes with chocolate coins and sticker coins and learned which animal represented the year of their birth (a lot of pigs and rats!).

In a few years, we will take culture trips with the boys to let them experience their beautiful cultures and lands.