Tag Archives: celebration

Celebrating Lunar New Year – 2022 Year of the Tiger

Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in China. Tied to the Chinese lunar calendar, the holiday began as a time for feasting and honoring ancestors as well as deities. Lunar New Year celebrations begin on February 1st.

The year 2022 is slated to be the year of the tiger. The tiger is known as the king of all beasts in China and the zodiac is associated with strength and bravery.

Chinese people celebrate Lunar New Year with the traditional greeting, “Kung hei fat choi”  Sounds like (gung – hay – fah – choy) in Cantonese!

Lunar New Year covers a long span, not just one day. Two weeks is the typical time frame. Traditionally this time is used to celebrate with family and friends. It’s important to start the new year with a clean home. Red envelopes are handed out to others, typically children or young people, containing Lucky Money. Foods are important in the celebration and have meaning. Long noodle dishes, for instance, represent longevity or long life, while dumplings represent wealth. Interestingly, fortune cookies are not authentic Chinese treats, though enjoyable and fun, you can read more about their unique history here.

You can read more about Lunar New Year here.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to Lunar New Year can be found on the APIA Winter Pinterest board. Try some of these great ideas!

Arts & Crafts:

Kids in the Kitchen:

Virtual Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Here are a couple of virtual field trips that fit this theme:

Videos – Online you can find many examples of celebrations. Please review the content for appropriateness for your own host kids before watching with the children.

Webcams – You can do a google search for Lunar New Year celebrations with webcams. Here is a popular one for the upcoming season:

Books – Check out your local library or bookseller for books to order / reserve and pick up /read online:

Post Courtesy of Cynthia Chan (Au Pair in America)

Photo: Jimmie Quick 

Valentine’s Day Activities

Valentine’s Day (February 14) is a time of love, friendship, giving, and caring. Americans use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to tell friends and family how much they care.  Children usually exchange cards at school.

Are you looking for Valentine’s day activity and craft ideas?

Look no further…  Au Pair in America has a Pinterest pinboard devoted to Valentine’s Day:

APIA Valentine’s Day Pinboard

Photo: Clever Cupcakes (Flickr)

Looking for Valentine’s Day Activities?

valentine Clever CupcakesValentine’s Day (February 14) is a time of love, friendship, giving, and caring. Americans use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to tell friends and family how much they care.  Children usually exchange cards at school.

Are you looking for Valentine’s day activity and craft ideas?

Look no further…  Au Pair in America has a Pinterest pinboard devoted to Valentine’s Day:

APIA Valentine’s Day Pinboard

Photo: Clever Cupcakes (Flickr)

Chanukkah Begins December 16 at Sundown

ChanukahWe have host families from a wide variety of backgrounds and faiths.  Some celebrate Christmas, some Chanukkah, some Kwanzaa and some celebrate more than one of those or none of the above.  That is something that makes America special, we can all be different, but still one united together.

I wanted to give a brief overview of Chanukkah and some of the customs you might observe.  Something important to note is that Chanukkah is not the Jewish equivalent of Christmas.  From a religious standpoint, it is a relatively minor holiday.  So, the amount of emphasis put on Chanukkah and how it is celebrated will vary from one family to the next.

You may see Chanukkah spelled in a variety of ways: Chanuka, Hanukkah, Hanukka and more. Part of the reason for this confusion may be due to the fact there is no exact English translation of the Hebrew word for Chanukkah.

If your host family celebrates Chanukkah and you don’t, I would encourage you to take part and experience the customs of another religion.  This can be a great opportunity for culture sharing.  The same is true, if you are a host family and your au pair celebrates a different holiday than you.

Here is a simple explanation from Judaism 101:

Chanukkah is the festival of lights, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a successful revolt against the Seleucid Greeks. As part of the rededication, the victorious Jews needed to light the Temple’s menorah (candelabrum), but they had only enough oil to last one day and it would take eight days to prepare more oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days. The miracle of the oil is commemorated with this eight-day candle lighting holiday.

Chanukkah begins between Thanksgiving and Christmas. About half of the time, it overlaps with Christmas, but there are many years when Chanukkah ends long before Christmas. In 2002, for example, Chanukkah began on Thanksgiving and ended in the first week of December, but that is unusual.

Almost all Jews light candles with their families for at least some nights of the holiday, so people like to be at home during this holiday. Although almost nobody takes off from work or school for this holiday, many may not want to work nights or travel during the holiday so they can light candles with the family, and accommodations should be made for this.

Here are some links for more info and children’s activities:

July 4th Celebrations in Washington, DC

fireworksWashington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall is the center of all of the Independence Day Celebrations in DC. There are events all day, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a fireworks display over the Washington Monument.

Washington, DC’s Independence Day Parade
Parade Start Time: 11:45 a.m.
Parade Route: Constitution Avenue and 7th to 17th Sts.
See a map of the parade route

Washington, DC’s 4th of July Parade features marching bands, military and specialty units, floats, and VIP’s. The parade draws a large crowd, so plan to arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot. Read more about the National Independence Day Parade

4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall
Fireworks Time: At dark, usually around 9:15 p.m. Rain Date: July 5th
Launch Location: The fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument.

Getting to the National Mall
The best way to get to the National Mall is to take the Metro. Stations nearby include Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, Federal Triangle and L’Enfant Plaza. It typically takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to clear the Mall after the fireworks.

Public access to the National Mall begins at 10:00 a.m., with all visitors required to enter via a security checkpoint.

Information above is from About.com. Visit their website HERE for much more information about the DC July 4th celebrations, including the best places to view the fireworks.

Halloween Health and Safety Tips

From cdc.gov

halloween cdc.govFor many people, autumn events like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties, and eat yummy treats. These events are also opportunities to provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Below are tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

Alphabet letter S Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
Alphabet letter A Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Alphabet letter F Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Alphabet letter E Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
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Alphabet letter H Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.
Alphabet letter A Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
Alphabet letter L Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
Alphabet letter L Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
Alphabet letter O Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Alphabet letter W Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
Alphabet letter E Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Alphabet letter E Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult.
Alphabet letter N Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Au Pair in America Celebrates 25 Years!

Au Pair in America was established in 1986 as the first federally approved au pair program in the United States.  We have established high standards of excellence, partnering with the U.S. government, international partners, our U.S. field network, AIFS staff and orientation team to provide a quality cross-cultural experience for over 87,000 au pairs from around the world and thousands of American families.  Join us in celebration…

APIA pic