Adopted kids mini-ambassadors come Lunar New Year(From AP, edited by Vicki Diaz ) Fireworks, long noodles, and dumplings are not easily associated as one. However, these aspects are just tiny pieces of a big festival that is celebrated by millions around the world. Lunar New Year – Year of the Dragon that starts Jan. 23 – is a 15 day event with a special meaning to millions of Asian decent people.

Adopted kids mini-ambassadors come Lunar New Year(From AP, edited by Vicki Diaz ) Fireworks, long noodles, and dumplings are not easily associated as one. However, these aspects are just tiny pieces of a big festival that is celebrated by millions around the world. Lunar New Year – Year of the Dragon that starts Jan. 23 – is a 15 day event with a special meaning to millions of Asian decent people.

In America, for many Asian adopted children, it marks the beginning of them becoming mini-ambassadors of their culture, whether they are familiar with it or not.

For many Asian adopted children it is a tradition they have yet to fully understand, however, it is the start of familiarity. The event is the mark of new beginnings which goes hand in hand to many of these children’s lives now that they have been adopted. It marks the start of change with a great deal of celebration; parties, food, and parades filled with festive colors.

Yet a question surfaces for these adoptive parents; how much should they put into educating and celebrating such a tradition with their children?

Jan Risher of Lafayette, LA, says, “In south Louisiana, we’re definitely ambassadors to the Chinese culture.” Risher and her husband have a 10-year-old from China. “When she was younger, I tried to do more of the outward Chinese cultural things, like decorations and cooking specific dumplings,” Risher said. “But now that she’s a little older, we mainly talk about China, its history and customs, and even its politics so that she can try and wrap her head around why she’s here. She’s a deep thinker.”

Not all adoptive parents spend time promoting the Asian culture to their adoptive children. For some, it’s giving a simple idea of their culture that seems to work for them as a family.

Karen Burgers from northern New Jersey has two daughters, ages 10 and 5, from China. The extent of their culture dive goes has far as Chinese garments and eating lo mein.

“I’ve certainly failed to promote an authentic experience,” Burgers said, “but the children get the gist, enjoy the festivity and learn a little about the culture.”

Each family chooses their way of celebration, yet most have similar customs and traditions, such as;

Chinese Zodiac: A huge cultural staple in China is the Chinese Zodiac. For the Lunar New Years, it is the year of the dragon. For many, such as Heather May Gleason from Takoma Park, Md., it’s a small, but important connection her 5 year old adoptive daughter from China and her 3 year old biological son share with one another.

“My kids love to hear about the Chinese Zodiac, with Chinese adoption you know very little about your child’s history, but create their future. And I guess that is really what Chinese New Year is about.”

Long Noodles: It is believed that the longer ones noodles are the better. It means a long and durable life. The New Years food is prepared in a particular way; chicken and duck are prepared whole as pasta is left uncut. They believe such cooking tools, like scissors and knives, are considered unlucky.

Fireworks: Though they create a spectacular view many ring in the New Year with fireworks for their loud noise. Many believe that the loud noise frightens away evil spirits and bad luck. Others, like Burgers, use different alternatives to carry on this belief, such as bubble wrap. “The bubble wrap is loudly stomped upon as the children parade around the room wearing a dragon head costume.”

In the end, new generations of Asian- American children are discovering their culture as an insider and outsider. With celebrations and traditions, such a Lunar New Year, it allows them to keep a hold and explore their culture wherever they live.

 

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