Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Lunar Calendar

Our annual pdf file showing the year's phases of the moon is ready. If you would like a copy, please post a comment with your email, or email me.

I love the look but it really helps show how each month of the Chinese calendar begins with a new moon. If there is a full moon, one knows it is the 15th of the lunar calendar. Children - and adults - always want to look at it when I take it anywhere.

Share ideas about how you use it!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Resources for Chinese New Year

Books appropriate for Chinese New Year.

My pages of CNY resources:
Other Website Resources:
Books do not change significantly from edition to edition but websites can and do. I am in no way responsible for the content of other websites, but here are some I liked when I last saw them:

Wikipedia's Chinese New Year entry
Prof. Roth's Chinese New Year page

Web holidays's Chinese New Year
Chinese Culture Center's New Year Page

Last Updated: January 2009.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

and the cycle rolls on...

Mid-Autumn Festival is behind us, and even the Diwali, the first festival of lights in the fall that I know is fading behind us. This means that many Hindus have started their new year and the countdown to Chinese New Year continues.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Autumn Moon 2008

The 2nd most celebrated Chinese festival is Mid-Autumn Festival, and it's only about one moon away now. This year lunar 8/15 falls on September 14th, 2008

You may want to start looking for mooncakes at the Chinese grocery store, review Mid-Autumn Festival information, decide whether you want to go into your child's school to celebrate, or even start talking to their teachers (the sooner the better on that one since it is "early" this year. I suspect many teachers might be happiest with just a special snack as they will be still getting their own routines set). Or, surprise some friends online with e-cards. You can set up today to be delivered on September 14th!

We still have a pdf file of 2008 showing how the phases of the moon compare to the 2008 calendar. If you would like a copy, please post a comment with your email, or email me.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

"August Moon Names"

As I read the Chinese calendar, we are still in the lunisolar term "major heat" but almost to the "start of Autumn". Some non-Chinese websites say that the Chinese call this month "Harvest Moon".

According to India's National civil calendar, today starts the month of Shraavan.
In the Hebrew calendar, we are in the month of Av.
On the Islamic calendar, we are in the month of SHa`baan.

Keith's Moon Page has a list of Full Moon Names that include: Native American, Chinese, New Guinean Colonial American, English Medieval and Neo-Pagan. Sadly, he lists the full moon names by months, when we know most of the cultures did not date them that way. The Crystal Forest monthly moon name suffers from the same dating problem. I still love to see all of the different names together.

English Medieval: Corn Moon
Celtic: Dispute Moon
Colonial American: Dog Day's Moon
Native American (Cherokee): Harvest Moon
Native American (Choctaw): Women's Moon
Native American (Dakotah Sioux): Moon When All Things Ripen
Neo Pagan: Lightening Moon

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Got storage?

Is anyone - preferably in Northern NJ - interested in some Chinese New Year decoration, etc. ? especially from Year of the Pig? Some of us have collected more than we can store and would be willing to pass them on.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy New Year (2008/4706)

The US Postal Service had their Chinese New Year stamps available in advance this year - in case anyone wanted to sue them to send New Year's cards or hong bao!

Google has a string of firecrackers on their search pages.

In China, at least the Guanzhou government seems to have really stepped up to make Chinese New Year better for those who could not get home to their families. More child-friendly, China view has some nice celebration pictures. I especially like page 2.

BBC has the Lunar New Year: In Pictures. I like the close-up of making dumplings.

This year, I discovered, I am not keeping up wit the times. tjmommy has the video and mixed media list of Chinese New Year.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Year of the Rat stamps

Photos and pictures of the new Year of the Rat stamps are all over.

I really like China's Year of the Rat stamp this year. Xin hua net's pictures

Singapore calls their Year of the Rat stamp charming. I could not find a good picture of the Australian Year of the Rat stamp. Although Rat is first, the Rat Wraps up Canada Post's Lunar Stamp Series of 12 stamps.

The USA is starting a new series -- but it seems you really have to be in the know to recognize this is a Year of the Rat stamp. Sometime, maybe they will issue them & get them to post offices early enough for people to use them when they send out New Year's cards & any hong boa to relatives farther away. Official Press Release and USPS fact sheet.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Disney: Year of the Mouse

I actually find Mickey banner with him all dressed up "Chinese" that Shanghaiist and other have on their sites, cute. However, I am saddened at Disney's success in cashing in. They have more than 70 "Year of the Mouse" pieces on sale at Hong Kong Disneyland (Chinese site). Laughing Place has an artice on Year of the Mouse at Disney (USA& Hong Kong) with pictures for English speakers.

Hot Toys has at least 2 sizes of Disney "Year of the Mouse Collectibles. I saw them first at onesixthwarriors (11 inch and 1/6th scale "action figures"). They are scheduel to come our 2nd Quarter. Official photos:

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Tibetan New Year

This year Chinese New Year and Tibetan New Year coincide and begin on February 7th. According to the Tibetan calendar, the year 2008 will be the year of "Tushu" or "earth rat".

Monday, January 14, 2008

NJ Chinese New Year Events

Just a sampling:
  1. (yes, this one is in NYC, the rest really are in NJ) Museum of Chinese in America, Preparing for the Lunar New Year in Chinatown Walking Tours:
    Sat, Jan 26 from 1pm – 2:30pm
    Sat, Feb 2 from 1pm – 2:30pm
    Sat, Feb 9 from 1pm – 2:30pm
    Witness how Chinatown transforms itself in preparation for the Lunar New Year. Learn about the traditions and customs observed by Chinese households and discover the significance of red envelopes, foods and decorations. Enjoy the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of Chinatown in the most festive tour of the year!
    Where: Tours begin at MOCA @ 70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor
    Fee: $12/Adult; $10 Student and Senior; $6/MOCA members; free/Children
    5 and under. Advanced reservations required. Call (212) 619-4785 or email Please include the number and name of guests; date of tour; and contact phone number.
    Museum of Chinese in America, 70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013
    T: 212.619.4785 x101, F: 212.619.4720,

  2. Chinese New Year Gala, Hua Xia Plainsboro Chinese School. Saturday, January 19, 2008, 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Grover Mill Road, Plainsboro 609-468-4650

    Full stage production features musicians, magicians, martial artists, singers, and dancers. Yang Yi performs on the guzheng, a 21-string zither. Zhao Changiun demonstrates martial arts. Li Xin, a Beijing opera artist, portrays the Monkey King. Wennie Niu and Siu Chin perform Broadway tunes and opera. The Lion Dance opens the show. $10 to $30.
  3. Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library, and the Chinese-American Community present A Chinese New Year Community present A Chinese New Year Celebration, Saturday, February 2, 2008, 1:30 - 3:30. This drop-in program includes: Folk Dance, Folk Songs, Face Painting, ice Game, Farmers Hat, Calligraphy, Origami, Brush Holder's, Crafts and more.
  4. Celebrate the Chinese New Year, “The Year of the Rat,” with a program of traditional and contemporary music and dance Feb. 8, 2009 by New Jersey-based dancer-choreographer Nai-Ni Chen including a 12 course Chinese dinner. For information call 800-650-0246
  5. February 9, 10: New Jersey Performing Arts Center,Victoria Theater,Chinese New Year Celebration: The Year of the Rat, Newark, NJ, New Jersey Performing Arts Center

  6. February 24,Cumberland County College, Frank Guaracini Jr. Fine & Performing Arts Center, Vineland, NJ, Cumberland County College.
  7. (Event in Chinese?) The Chinese community in Livingston, New Jersey is warming up as the Chinese Lunar New Year approaches. In order to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year, the Year of Dog, as well as thousands of years of culture and history, the Livingston Chinese Culture Day (LCCD) 2008 will be held on Saturday, February ?, 2008 from 4 pm to 11 pm at Livingston High School. The event is open to all who are interested. Tickets are on sale now. Please contact Xiuxian Li (973)758-1989, Rebacca Sheng (973) 535- 1452, or Jame Lee (973)535-1139 for ticket information. (OK, this confuses me, the zodiac goes dog... pig... and the cycle starts again this year with rat.)

Sources included:'s great list of events, thanks Ray! (For events in the rest of the USA & the world, go to his list of Events, Parades & Festivals, and see if I missed anything!)

Events in Chinese from Sino Monthly

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Stuff for New Year's

Chris noticed this hong bao lantern kit was on sale from a catalog we trust. Of course, shipping & handling would be more than the current price for the kit! For those in the USA, $9 would get you:
  • 90 envelopes ( enough to make three different ornaments, with 15 envelopes left over for secrets, poems, notes, or the traditional coins or dollars)
  • 1 yard of cord
  • 3 tassels
  • 300 adhesive stickers
  • Detailed, step-by-step, illustrated instructions for making the three ornaments.
hmmm... HearthSong also has their "zoo stick" attached chopsticks on sale. We finally broke one after at least 4 years of regular use - for Montessori-style pick up work as well as eating & many, many cycles through the dishwasher, which is probably not the best way to make them last.

Be careful what you are buying - Year of the Pig items should be on sale since you'd have to hold on to them for 11 years - but I noticed they are regular price at Oriental Trading still. I vote their Chinese Shirt Gift Bags the cutest, and their Design Your Own! Chinese New Year Dragon Accordion Cards "most likely for me to buy" of the Chinese New Year items. If I had a regular classroom, I would be tempted by their "Dragon Bulletin Board Puzzle". If you search for "Chinese" instead of "Chinese New Year", you might be as surprised as I was to see brush sets listed. I can't tell what quality or how long to expect them to last.

Of course, you will find higher quality things at China Sprout's Chinese New Year Page and lots of interesting things in your local Chinatown, or on Pearl River's Chinese New Year's page.

My friend Betsy usually reminds me that now, a few weeks beforehand, it the time to go to Chinatown to get new couplets and door guards for the coming year.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Year of the Rat sneakers?

Nike and Reebok have Year of the Rat sneakers. I will admit it still seems strange to me. Nike has a "Year of the Rat" hoodie too, that does not strike me quite as odd somehow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ready for the Rat?

The Year of the Rat begins Thursday, February 7th, 2008 (lunar 1/1)

If you are hosting a party, going into the schools, or planning on getting new red clothes, you may want to really start thinking about it.

12/20 lunar (January 29?, 2008) should be set aside for the annual housecleaning and 3 days later on February 1st, the kitchen god will be going up to report. You can (and perhaps should) get your hair cut now or then - but not during the first two weeks of the New Year. Most of the year, my lunar calendar is beautiful, but now I need to refer to it (Email me for one).

February 21st ‘should’ find you preparing for the Lantern festival, which begins on the 15th night, which is 2/22 this year.

The two week period of Chinese New Year includes Valentine’s Day this year, so there will be lots of red around. However, if you plan on ‘teaching’ the holiday or going into the schools, keep in mind that is often a big event for them, and not every teacher can support two or three parties in two weeks!

Childbook lists over 100 CNY events!'s list of Chinese New Year Events across the US and Canada for 2008 now has more tahn 100 events. Locations for events range from a Joss House in Evanton, Wyoming to the largest Chinese New Year Parade parade in San Francisco to Washington DC to New York City. Celebrations range from dances to performances to parades.

Chinese New Year Information on includes recommended the calendar of events, recommended books (many of which you can buy from them) and a reference back to this blog!

Full disclosure: I am a satisfied customer, but have no business relationship with them.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

CNY graphics online

I got this from, CNY graphics

My concern with all the free graphics out there is that I can't know what other graphics they offer, no one I can go through all of them, so use your own discretion before having your little ones troll the site!

"January Moon Names"

Keith's Moon Page has a list of Full Moon Names that include: Native American, Chinese, New Guinean Colonial American, English Medieval and Neo-Pagan. Sadly, he lists the full moon names by months, when we know most of the cultures did not date them that way. The Crystal Forest monthly moon name suffers from the same dating problem. I still love to see all of the different names together.

Both sites list the "Chinese Name" for the January moon as: Holiday Moon

English Medieval: Wolf Moon
Celtic: Quite Moon
New Guinea: Rainbow Fish Moon
Colonial American: Winter Moon
Native American (Cherokee): Cold Moon
Native American (Choctaw): Cooking Moon
Native American (Dakotah Sioux): Moon of the Terrible
Neo Pagan: Ice Moon
Hindu: Paush Poornima
unknown: Moon After Yule

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Anime New Year's Greetings

Japan has celebrated the New Year on 1/1 for many years now - but they often have references to the upcoming Chinese zodiac year at the same time.

I am loving manga illustrator Kenjirou Hata's greetings for the New Year. I found it a little way down on Anime News Networks' New Year's Greetings. "(In the third picture, the caption pointing to Nagi's hair says, "There's rats inside.")" It may move around a bit as other greetings are added to the same page - there were 21 when I just looked.