This year is the Chinese new year of the Ox, which is supposed to bring us luck and strengthen relationships! Though there are no celebrations this year, you can always order in some Chinese food: fish, dumplings, long noodles, and mandarin oranges are traditionally eaten at during the festivities.
BerlinFoodStories has a list of Chinese restaurants they consider to be some of the best in the city: https://berlinfoodstories.com/category/story/chinese/
On the second day of the new year, families will visit each other and hand over little gifts. And sometimes even the family dog gets a gift too! Gifts are handed money or little tokens in ‘red packets’ or little red envelopes as these symbolise prosperity and happiness. Married family members hand red envelopes (called hongbao in Mandarin) with money to others to show their goodwill and give blessings for the new year to the other family members. Children sometimes get oranges, sweets or coins. Always make sure to give an even number of gifts or in the amount of money. So always at least two mandarins, two packets or two coins. And the number eight is considered an especially lucky or auspicious number.
The Chinese calendar is about one month behind our (so called Gregorian) calendar as it has between 30 and 50 more days per year. And the Chinese zodiac calendar has a cycle of 12 years. The calendar was started on astronomical observations of the moon’s phases. Each year a Chinese zodiac animal is the symbol for the year. The 12 Chinese zodiac animals are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. (Source: Kids World Travel Guide.)
Here is a link to a nice coloring page for the year the Ox: https://www.planerium.com/shop/coloring-pages/happy-chinese-new-year-2021-ox/
Here are lovely video tutorials for crafting a Chinese lantern from the Center for Chinese Contemporary Art (UK) with artist Stephanie Jong: http://cfcca.org.uk/event/lantern-making-an-online-workshop/
You will need: Colored paper (A4 or A3 size), extra paper (to make tassels), card-stock, glue, string/thin rope, scissors…Optional: paint (e.g. watercolour, acrylic or poster paint), paintbrush, cutting mat or similar.
On a final note, if you are interested in your kids learning Chinese, you might want to seek out the WEM Academy: https://wemacademy.de
Please note: we are not paid to advertise and cannot attest to the quality of the services offered.