Friday, January 20, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year

Nine days until the first day of Chinese New Year, but the UPenn museum has their annual celebration tomorrow, Saturday Jan 21st. All the details are here and I have it listed on the calendar. I don't think we will make it this year as we are deeply involved in science fair time. It has been science fair all week this week with my 10 year old. She's trying to find Fibonacci numbers in fruit. Turns out that there are about and equal number of Fibonacci numbers in the seeds of fruit and the sections of fruit. But, non-citrus fruit always had a Fibonnacci number in the number of sections. (In the ones she's tested.)

But back to Chinese New Year. For the last two years our family has put together a little shadow puppet show to perform at a Chinese New Year party for children adopted from China in our church.
Last year was the year of the rooster and we adapted a Romanian folk tale from a book (The Impudent Rooster) written by an old friend from college. This picture shows a scene. We gave the rich man a Chinese name and instead of eating corn mush, the peasant ate rice. This year is the year of the dog and I've found a tale that explains why dogs and cats don't like each other. That's the easy part. Making all the puppets can be a challenge. As we use a razor blade for the cutting, I do that and my 10 year old colors them and attaches the sticks to control them. My husband tells the story. My 8 yo son provides percussion interludes and my 5 yo daughter usually gets to move one of the minor characters while the oldest and I operate the other puppets. So, it is a real family affair. In 2004 we used the Ed Young book The Rooster's Horns. If you want to make your own shadow puppet theater to celebrate Chinese New Year he'll tell you how to do it and even provide patterns (that are easy enough to cut with just a scissors). Why not invite a few friends, order some Chinese food and make it a party?

Chun jie kuai le!


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