Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a movable feast worked out from both the sun and the moon - it is celebrated on second new moon after the Winter Solstice and falls between mid-January and mid-February each year - Chinese New Year in 2005 is on February 9th. Celebrations last for several days, with traditional Dragon Dancing, drums, fireworks etc. and of course lots of lovely Chinese food!!

Easy ways to adapt Chinese New Year for Guides and Brownies include :

Chinese food : (can be bought ready-made from most supermarket delicatessens) - all to be eaten with chopsticks of course.

  • Spring Rolls
  • Wontons
  • Fried Rice
  • Prawn crackers
  • Noodles
  • Sweet-and-sour chicken or prawns

Chinese Dragon Dance : Make a large "Dragon" with a cardboard box head and fabric body, decorate with paper, sequins, more fabric etc. Several girls get under the "Dragon" (one to control the "head" and the rest in the "body") and dance to the accompaniment of cymbals and drums.


Chinese Crafts :

  • Chinese Letters
  • Rockets
  • Red Packets : On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. The girls can copy this by decorating red paper with Chinese symbols and folding it around a coin (either real or chocolate.)

Each year of the Chinese calendar is allocated to a particular animal : the coming year (February 2005 - February 2006) will be the Year of the Rooster .

The girls can make models or pictures of the animals representing their birth years :

1982 dog 1988 dragon 1994 dog
1983 boar 1989 snake 1995 boar
1984 rat 1990 horse 1996 rat
1985 ox 1991 ram 1997 ox
1986 tiger 1992 monkey 1998 tiger
1987 rabbit 1993 rooster 1999 rabbit

"Chinese" Games:
Chopstick Race : each six, pack or team has a bowl of rice, Dolly Mixtures, popcorn (easier) or Smarties (hardest!) on a chair or table at one end of the room, and empty bowl at the other end of the room and a pair of chopsticks. The first member of each team picks up a piece of popcorn, rice or a Smartie etc. from their bowl, using the chopsticks, and carries it to their team's bowl at the other end of the room, then runs back and passes the chopsticks to the next team member who does the same. Continue as a relay race - when every team member has successfully completed the task that team has finished and the first team to do so wins. (if the teams are uneven in numbers, make sure each bowl has the same number of pieces of popcorn, sweets etc., and continue till they have all been transferred to the other bowl.)

There is a more complicated version of this game available to download here (right-click and select "Save Target As...")

You can download more ideas for the Chinese New Year by right-clicking here and choosing "Save Target As..."

If you have any more ideas to add to this page, please email the webmaster.