QEP Bi-Monthly Blog: February 11
Susan Okoga, QEP Director
Chinese New Yar
Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is known as the “Spring Festival.” It is also the tradition to thoroughly clean your house to sweep away any ill fortune in hopes of making way for good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
This year, Chinese New Year will fall on Friday, February 12th and we are celebrating the Year of the Ox. Those born in the Year of the Ox are strong, reliable, fair, and conscientious;  they inspire confidence in others. They are also calm, patient, methodical, and trustworthy. 
The Chinese love the color red, regarding it as a symbol for energy, happiness, and good luck. Red envelopes are a way to send good wishes and luck. A red envelope or a red packet always contains money and is given to children from their parents, grandparents, or other family members during holidays or special occasions.
The lion dance is a traditional dance in Chinese culture where performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune. The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese cultural and religious festivals. It may also be performed at important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations, or wedding ceremonies. The lion dance involves two performers - one to move the front legs and head and the other who is bent over, working the back legs and tail. It is believed to bring you good luck for the coming year, if you put money into a red envelope and place it in the lion’s mouth during its performance.  
The children use bubble wrapping to represent “firecrackers” and make loud noises as we all say “Kung hei fat choi” and wish each other a Happy New Year!!!

Valentine’s Day
This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday and is the perfect opportunity to show your children how much you love them. Instead of buying material things, you can teach the true meaning of love and create loving memories with your child by spending time together as a family.
As busy parents, there is always something to do and somewhere to go. I encourage you to turn off your cell phones and spend meaningful time together. Spending time together is much more valuable than gifts you can buy.   
Here are some simple suggestions:
  • Read a book together.
  • Sing songs.
  • Make Valentine cards for your family and your child can sign their name.
  • Get dressed up in clothes featuring hearts or the colors red and pink.
  • Have a tea party with your child.
  • Prepare breakfast together making heart-shaped pancakes.
  • Prepare a heart-shaped lunch using a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut the bread, cheese, and meat. Slice strawberries into heart shapes.
  • Talk to your child about being a good sister or brother.
  • Talk about being a good friend. What can you do to show someone that you are a good friend?
  • Call a grandparent, aunt, or uncle and tell them you love them.
  • Help your child cut out hearts of various sizes using colored paper, wrapping paper, newspaper, magazines etc. then use them to create a Valentine art project that you can display on the wall.
  • Using blankets and pillows to build a fort or tent and snuggle together.
  • Plan an outing that the family can enjoy together (following Covid safety guidelines).
  • Go out for an afternoon treat together - shave ice, ice cream, yogurt, etc.
  • Listen to your child and you will be amazed at what they will share with you.
Sharing special events and holidays together as a family will create memories that you and your family will cherish for years to come!