5 Ways to Celebrate the Chinese New Year!

The Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is a 16-day celebration starting with New Year’s Eve on January 24, 2020, and ending with the Lantern Festival on February 8th, 2020. During this time, people celebrate by decorating their houses, buying new clothes, visiting family and lighting fireworks. January 25th starts the Year of the Rat! Here are some ideas on how you can celebrate the Chinese New Year in communities nationwide:


New Year festivals are an interactive way to take part in Chinese culture. The dragon and lion dances are especially a beautiful piece of the culture. Dragons symbolize luck and in the traditional dances, many people hold up a dragon using poles, the longer the dragon, the greater the luck. The lions’ presence keeps away the evil spirit, Nian. Lion dancer styles differ around parts of China. Learn more here

The Atlanta Lunar New Year Festival takes place Saturday, January 25th and Sunday, January 26th at Atlanta Chinatown Mall. This year’s festival includes a “Taiwanese night market, a dragon & lion dance, and art & culture exhibits”.


The New York Philharmonic hosts a Chinese New Year performance each year. On Tuesday, January 28th experience “Zhou Tian’s Gift and the New York Premiere of Texu Kim’s ping pong–inspired Spin-Flip. Witness rising superstar Haochen Zhang in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Gil Shaham in Chen Gang and He Zhanhao’s The Butterfly Lovers, Violin Concerto.” 

Every year, people look forward to the broadcasting of the Chinese New Year Gala on Chinese Central Television, The gala features a variety of performances including instrumentation and dance. 


The Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia is hosting its annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 1st. The celebration includes “A tea ceremony and flower arrangement show that will highlight the beauty and harmony of cultural exchanges and collaborations.” 

While tea is a staple in Chinese culture, some foods eaten during the New Year reunion dinner have certain hallmarks attributed to them. Families typically eat steamed dumplings which symbolize prosperity for the new year. Learn more here


Lanterns have different meanings in Chinese culture. Sky lanterns can represent making a wish while some lanterns have a more religious connotation and can represent saving a seat for a god.

The Louisville Zoo hosts the Wild Lights Asian Lantern Festival from March 5th- April 25th. You can take an hour-long walk through the lantern-lit zoo. Other activities include “viewing traditional Chinese performances and trying traditional cuisine”. 


Disneyland is celebrating the Year of the Mouse *ahem* Rat from January 17- February 9 with a Mulan themed Lunar New Year Parade. The park also celebrates with a water show, Asian cuisine, and Disney characters sporting festive red costumes. 

Red is a prominent color used in New Year decorations. The color symbolizes both good luck and fire. With a promise of good luck and fire to ward off evil spirits, it’s no wonder why red is a popular color for clothing, lanterns, and decorations during the New Year. Learn more here

The Chinese New Year is a time of allowing prosperity and good luck into your life. Take the time to talk to the people you’re most grateful for, reflect on the past year, and move forward without the negativity of the past. 

Happy New Year!/ xīn nián kuài lè! 

Celebrating Rajasthani Puppetry


One of my recent favorites is the art of Rajasthani string puppetry, also known as “Kathputli.” This is one of the most vibrant aspects of Indian culture and is over a thousand years old. This type of puppetry narrates events from the history of the region, folklore, legends and myths complete with music and dialogue.

Here is a great piece on the The Beauty of Rajasthani Puppets.

Our January Hatch Box features India! We have included a souvenir in the box to introduce your child to this beautiful celebration of Indian tradition. Order a Hatch Box to find out what it is!

In the meantime, enjoy this entertaining video celebrating Rajasthani puppetry.

The First Filipino Settlers


We want to educate, yes, but we want to do so in a manner that increases interest and a yearning to know more about the culture of the countries we feature. 

While researching about the Philippines, I learned something that completely blew my mind! Did you know that the first settlers in the Philippines were the Aeta (pronounced as “eye-ta”) people and they were black?!

Certainly there is no scarcity of evidence of the Great Human Migration—prehistoric humans left their homeland of Africa to colonize the world. So why was I so surprised to discover that the first settlers in the Philippines were black? I think it may have to do with the way we as humans process information – intellectually I know this and it makes sense, but as a regular, everyday person it felt like a discovery. I told a few of my friends who are well educated and globally aware adults and it was news to them as well. I wonder why that is…

The Aeta people are an indigenous people who live in the mountainous parts of Luzon, and they are considered the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines. They have dark to very dark brown-skin, small stature, curly to kinky afro-like textured hair with some having naturally lighter hair color, small nose, and dark brown eyes. They belong to a group of people called Australo-Melanesians; also included in this group are the Aborigines in Australia.

There are a few theories about the history of the Aeta people. Some suggest that they migrated to the Philippines using land bridges that linked the country to other parts of Asia, land bridges that disappeared over the centuries via evolution. Some studies show that they are descendants of “an initial dispersal out of Africa by early anatomically modern humans,” while others show that Australo-Melanesians may be genetically related to Native Americans.

Native Filippino children playing. (Pixabay.com)

I started to go down the rabbit hole with this research for sure! After all fact chasing, I was led to this conclusion that we all know, or should know—we are all connected and are more similar than we are different.

Our January Nest Box features the Philippines! The book we selected is based on Filipino mythology and it is so captivating. Because the Aeta people are known for their musical heritage, we have included a souvenir that celebrates that. You have to get the January Nest Box to find out what it is!

To learn more about the Aeta people of the Philippines check out some of these sources:

Girls on Quest!: 4 Children’s Books Featuring Girls on a Hero’s Journey

When I started researching books to select for our January Box, I had no specific theme in mind. I just knew that we would be exploring Asia and I knew I wanted the stories to be interesting and show the diversity in culture within the continent.

Even after I selected the books for the Nest Jr., Nest and Soar Boxes, it didn’t occur to me that a theme had emerged until I read the last book. Then it hit me—three books with three girls on a hero’s journey. These books tell three different stories of these girls as they go off on quests – one out of defiance, another out of obligation and the last in efforts to find herself and save her community. All three girls encounter challenges along the way, and despite the fear, self doubt, and the figurative and literal battles, they all emerge stronger and more sure of who they are.

I am so proud of this month’s selections. If you are already an ABC subscriber, your kids are in for a treat! If you are not, there is still a chance to get a January Box and get to know these three girls. While you wait for your box to arrive, here are some books featuring fierce girls on heroic quests! Enjoy!

Kaya’s Heart Song by Diwa Theran Sanders and Nerina Canzi (illustrator)

Kaya is looking for her heart song – the song that happy hearts sing. Her search takes her on a journey deep into the jungle where a broken down carousel waits for a very special song to make it turn again… Grounded in the principles of mindfulness, this joyful story set in the vibrant jungles of Malaysia will truly make your heart sing. (Lantana Publishing)

Great for Hatch readers.

Daughters of Steel by Naomi Cyprus

Halan was once a powerless princess. Now she’s taken her rightful place as queen of the Magi Kingdom—but she wonders if she’ll ever be the ruler her people deserve. And Nalah used to be a powerful pauper. Now she’s the Queen’s Sword—but the more Nalah’s powers grow, the more unruly they become.

One vision changes everything. Nalah embarks on a quest across the desert to harness her powers, while Halan must travel through the Transcendent Mirror to help the Thaumas of New Hadar.

As a dark threat draws closer, can Nalah and Halan reunite to save both worlds—and the future of magic? (Harper Collins)

Perfect for Nest Jr. readers.

The Distance Between Us: Young Reader’s Edition by Reyna Grande

When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live with their stern grandmother, as they wait for their parents to build the foundation of a new life.

But when things don’t go quite as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years: her long-absent father. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Distance Between Us sheds light on the immigrant experience beautifully capturing the struggle that Reyna and her siblings endured while trying to assimilate to a different culture, language, and family life in El Otro Lado (The Other Side). (Simon & Schuster)

Great for Nest readers.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (Macmillan)

Excellent for more advanced Soar readers.