Chinese New Year
To hear a possible explanation of how the Chinese
came to name their years
To appreciate that we are all different
To understand that we are all good at something
Simple animal masks made in an Art lesson, or
simple animal costumes or appropriately coloured clothes
Long piece of blue material/paper to be used as the river
Lantern, red envelope
Chinese New Year - late winter
Similarities with Aesop's fable "The Hare and the
Tortoise" could be pointed out.
1. Good morning.
Today is the (date).
2. It is a special day.
It is the first day of the Chinese New Year.
3. Most people here celebrate New Year on
the 1st. of January, but Chinese people celebrate it on a different day
4. They celebrate it on the day of the
second new moon, after December 22nd., which this year is today.
If you look out of the window tonight, the moon will look very small.
5. The Chinese celebrate for 15 days.
They have fireworks, coloured lanterns, dragon processions, nice food -
and maybe best of all - the children are given money in special red
6. The Chinese also call the years after
Today is the beginning of the Year of the (animal).
7. The years are named after 12 different
We are going to show you how the 12 animals were chosen.
NARRATOR 1: It was nearly New Year.
Twelve animals were arguing.
There was - a dog, a pig, a rat, an ox, a tiger, a hare, a dragon, a
snake, a horse, a ram, a cockerel and a monkey.
NARRATOR 2: They thought the New Year
should have a name.
They were arguing because each animal wanted the year to be named after
The monkey, the dragon and the dog started the argument.
DRAGON: This year should be called The
Year of the Dragon, because I'm the fiercest. (ROARS. BREATHES FIRE.),
MONKEY: (SCAMPERS OUT OF THE WAY OF THE
FLAMES.) No, it should be called The Year of the Monkey, because I'm
DOG: (RUNS BEHIND TREE.) No, no. It should
be called The Year of the Dog, because I'm the cleverest.
DRAGON + MONKEY: Oh no you're not!
DOG: Oh yes I am!
NARRATOR 1: They argued for hours. All the
other animals joined in too. There was so much growling and barking and
squeaking and bleating that they disturbed the Chinese gods.
ANIMALS: (BARK, SQUEAK, ROAR etc.)
GOD 1: Whatever is the matter with those
GOD 2: Let's go and see.
NARRATOR 2: The gods appeared in the sky.
The animals were amazed.
They stopped arguing and stared at the gods.
GOD 3: What are you arguing about?
ANIMALS: (BARK, SQUEAK, ROAR etc.)
God 4: Be quiet! What dreadful manners you
NARRATOR 1: The animals were ashamed. One
by one, they explained the problem. The gods thought it over.
GOD 1: We've got an idea. Listen carefully.
GOD 2: Can you see that big river? Why not
have a race across it? We can name this New Year after the winner of
DRAGON: That's a good idea.
ANIMALS: Yes! Yes!
NARRATOR 2: Each animal thought he would
be the winner. They hurried to the river bank and lined up for the race.
GOD 3: Are you ready?
ANIMALS: Yes we are.
GOD 4: Ready, steady, go!
NARRATOR 1: With a mighty splash, the
animals jumped into the river. They swam as fast as they could towards
the other side. The ox was the strongest swimmer. He was soon in the
OX: I'm going to win easily.
NARRATOR 2: Now the rat wasn't the best
swimmer, but he was the cleverest animal there. He saw the ox was in
He said to himself:
RAT: He's not going to beat me. I know
what I'll do.
NARRATOR 1: The rat climbed onto the ox's
back. The ox felt something strange.
OX: The water must be tickling me.
I'm going to be the winner! Ho, ho, ho!
NARRATOR 2: The ox laughed loudly - and
swallowed a big mouthful of water!
While he was coughing and spluttering, the rat jumped off his back and
onto the bank.
RAT: Hooray! I'm the winner. Tee, hee, hee.
OX: Where did you come from?
NARRATOR 1: The rat just laughed. The gods
GOD 1: Hard luck, Ox. You're very strong,
but Rat was too clever for you this time. We will call this year The
Year of the Rat. Ox, you were second, so next year will be The Year of
NARRATOR 2: One by one, the animals
finished the race. Tiger was 3rd. Hare was 4th. Dragon was 5th. Snake
was 6th. Horse was 7th. Ram was 8th. Monkey was 9th. Cockerel was 10th.
Dog was 11th. and Pig was 12th.
GOD 2: Well done all of you. We will name
a year after each of you, in the same order that you finished the race.
NARRATOR 1: The animals were happy with
this and didn't argue anymore. Rat was especially pleased, because the
first year was The Year of the Rat.
8. If you know any Chinese people, remember to wish them a
Happy New Year.
And finally - we have an animal poem for you.
GIRLS: Dear God, you made the animals:
The graceful horses with their foals,
The elephant and kangaroo,
The wolf, the bear and lion too.
BOYS: You gave the farmer useful friends,
Like pigs and cows and goats and sheep
And for OUR friends you gave us pets,
The rabbits, dogs and cats we keep.
ALL: Perhaps, God, when they bark and
They're really trying hard to speak
A Thank You Prayer, which we pray too
YOU MADE US, GOD, AND WE THANK YOU.
9. Of course all animals are loved
equally, by God who made them.
God does not have favourites.
We will now sing "If I were a Butterfly" by Brian Howard. (Celebration
Hymnal for Everyone number 298)