Celebrating Chinese New Year in Westchester County

Chinese New Year begins this Saturday, January 28th.  This year is the year of the Rooster.  There are several events where families can celebrate Chinese New Year in Westchester County and the surrounding areas.  Although we are not Chinese, I am fortunate that we live in an area where there are many opportunities for families to experience different cultures and experiences.  You can read all about Chinese New Year in this post.

Although this information was accurate at the time of posting, please check individual websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.  


Saturday, January 28, 2017 (Chappaqua, NY)
The Chappaqua Library  is hosting an all ages Chinese New Year celebration from 3-4:30.  The event is free but pre-registration is required.

Saturday, January 28, 2017 (Carmel, NY)
Although the Chuang Yen Monastery is not normally open during the winter for visitors, they will be open on January 28 for a Chinese Lunar New Year Blessing Ceremony from 9 AM – 5 PM.

For a Cost:

Saturday, January 28, 2017 (Greenwich, CT)
The Chinese Language School of Connecticut is hosting their 15th Annual New Year’s Celebration.  This event will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Greenwich High School Student Center in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Festivities include a dragon dance, a Chinese Buffet, music, crafts, demonstrations, performances and more. Tickets cost $30/child, $45/adult.

Saturday, February 25, 2017 (Purchase, NY)
The Westchester Association of Chinese Americans (WACA NY) is hosting their Chinese New Year Celebration on February 25, 2017 at SUNY Purchase College.  The theme this year is “Culture and Traditions of the Chinese New Year Festival” and will include food sampling, calligraphy, paper crafts and more as well as dance, martial art and musical instrument performances.  Early bird tickets are available until February 13 and cost $15/child, $20/adult.

Saturday, March 11, 2017 (Mahopac, NY)
Dragon and Crane, an “American Chinese Cultural Center” located in Somers, NY is hosting their Chinese New Year Celebration on March 11, 2017 at the Putnam National Golf Club.  This celebration includes an appetizer and cocktail hour, performances, buffet dinner, dessert and awards ceremony.  Non-member tickets cost $43/child, $75/adult.

Chinese New Year Books for Kids

Chinese New Year Books for Kids

Chinese New Year begins on February 8 this year and lasts for fifteen days.  This year is the year of the monkey and is your year if you were born in 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, or 2004.  We enjoy exposing our children to different cultures and experiences.  Last year, our family celebrated Chinese New Year by making a feast together including homemade dumplings, egg rolls, sesame chicken and lo mein.  This year, we will probably celebrate the holiday by ordering some Chinese take-out! We’ve also been reading some books, both fiction and non-fiction, about China and the Chinese new year that we’d thought we’d share with you.  There is still time to get ahold of these books and read them during the celebration of the Chinese New Year!

*All books are linked to goodreads.

Non-Fiction Books:


Food Around the World:  Food in China by Polly Goodman
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This is  one of four books in the Food Around the World series that Goodman has written.   The book uses photographs with captions and short, simple text to describe the food in China.   Goodman describes what a typical breakfast, lunch and dinner might include.  She describes the different foods grown and eaten in the different regions of China as well as special occasion and festival food.   We learned that in Northern China, a coin is put inside a dumpling and whoever finds the coin is wished good luck for the upcoming year.  We also learned that spring rolls look like gold bars and represent wealth in the new year. Goodman provides interesting food facts throughout the book as well as a glossary in the back. A Chinese soup recipe is included at the end of the book too and Goodman ties the now dated food pyramid to Chinese diets.  This book is a great introductionto the foods of china for younger kids (lower elementary).  The text may still be difficult for some children, but the pictures will help keep their interest.  We read this as a family, with each of us taking turns reading.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Chelsea’s Chinese New Year by Lisa Bykkard
Illustrated by Katie Saunders
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This picture book is perfect to introduce Chinese New Year to preschool age students.  It follows Chelsea as she and her family prepare for and celebrate Chinese New Year.  This book is classified as non-fiction and has the features of a non-fiction book including a table of contents with four very short chapters, a glossary at the end, a short index and a list of additional resources to learn more about Chinese New  Year. The entire book is illustrated with bright, colorful pictures.  The text is short and written in a story format, with interesting facts presented in purple graphics.   This is a great introduction book for younger readers to Chinese New Year.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Chinese New Year by Anita Yasuda
Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

This book is part of the AV2 Celebrating American Holidays series. This is great resource for elementary students and classrooms.  The book provides a wealth of resources for the reader about Chinese New Year, beginning with what the holiday is to the history and important symbols and foods.  Each set of pages includes a craft, recipe or activity to supplement the concept introduced.  There’s a little, seven question quiz at the end to see what the reader has learned as well as a glossary of terms that the reader may be unfamiliar with.  As part of the AV2 series, the book doesn’t end with the reading of the book.  A code is included at the beginning of the book which you can enter at the AV2 website.  There you can access videos, weblinks and more activities to supplement the book.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Chinese New Year: Count and Celebrate! by Fredrick L. McKissack, Jr. and Lisa Beringer McKissack
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

This picture book is another great resource to use with younger elementary students.  The book counts one through ten and introduces concepts related to Chinese New Year for each number.  Short, but informative text explains each concept in an easy to understand way.  Each number is accompanied by a large, colorful picture.  The book includes a “Words to Know” section at the end as well as additional resources for learning more about the holiday.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

This is an alphabet picture book about Chinese New Year.  Each letter, from A through Z, is accompanied a word that relates to Chinese New Year, as well as bright, colorful illustrations.  Unfortunately, the book does not go into very much detail about the words and for some of the words, like acrobat and dragon dance, there is no text or definitions to accompany it.  V is for Veneration but no definition is given for the word, except the sentence that “Families venerate their ancestors at New Year’s”  (it means to honor or respect someone, in case you were wondering!).  At the end of the book, the author writes a note and offers some “Tips to Ensure Good Fortune in the New Year.”  The artist also has a note at the end of the book explaining some of the Chinese characters seen in the book. A recipe for New Year’s Dumpling Delight is also provided at the end of the book.

*This book was borrowed from the library.

Fiction Books:


The Day the Dragon Danced by Kay Haugaard
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Sugar and her Grandma go to the Chinese New Year’s Day Parade to see the dragon.  Sugar enjoys telling her Grandma everything that she’s learned in school about the holiday.  When the dragon finally makes it way down the street, it’s not dancing very well.  When she sees her father’s shoes, she ends up helping him out and saves the dragon dance.  Being told from an African-American perspective this story had great potential, but I felt the story was a little flat.  However, I enjoyed that the diverse community came together to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From the title you can guess that this is a take on the classic story of  Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  In this picture book, it is Chinese New Year and Goldy’s mother asks her to wish her neighbors a happy new year.  Of course, the neighbors aren’t home, but Goldy makes herself comfortable in their apartment.  Instead of porridge, she eats their congee (rice porridge) and she falls asleep on Little Chan’s futon.  References to Chinese food are interspersed throughout the book (bringing turnip cakes to the neighbors, comparing Mr. Chan’s mattress to being as hard as an almond cookie and sitting in Mrs. Chan’s armchair to feeling like stuffing in a pork bun).  This story had a happy ending which differs from the classic.  The author provides a note at the end of the book describing Chinese New Year and also provides a recipe for Turnip Cake.    This was a cute take on a classic story.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story by Yu Li-Qiong
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Maomao’s father works faraway and only comes home for Chinese New Year.  When he arrives the family celebrates the Chinese New Year together, making sticky rice balls, visiting friends and family and watching the dragon dance.  Soon it’s time for Papa to leave again but Maomao sends him with a special gift.  This was a poignant story about a family celebrating Chinese New Year.  This book won the Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award in 2009 and was also a 2011 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book winner.

*This book was borrowed from the library.


The Year of the Sheep:  Tales from the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Chin
Rating:  3 out of 5 Stars

This is the tenth book in the Chinese Zodiac series.  It tells the story of Sydney the lamb, who was born in the new year.  Zhi, the shepherd girl takes care of Sydney and the rest of the flock of sheep.  But Sydney keeps finding herself in trouble.  After a storm leaves the river dried up, Sydney and her friends help clear the logjam.  While this book touches upon friendship and working together, overall, we thought the story itself was just okay.  The beautiful illustrations by Alina Chau helped give this book a 3 star rating for us.

*This book was borrowed from the library.