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February 24, 2013 / mommylok

Recognizing Chinese New Year with Build-a-Bear’s Year of the Snake

Photo by mommylok

I received Build-a-Bear’s Year of the Snake plush as a special gift.  It was a pleasant surprise because I didn’t realize Build-a-Bear made such a product that provides exposure to Chinese New Year and the Chinese zodiac.  It was also pleasant because they actually turned a snake (an animal I am not so fond of in real life) into a really adorable plush that even my kids fell in love with.

Here’s a message from my daughter:

“It was very thoughtful of you to make the snake.  The snake is cool.  I like the snake because it’s the Year of the Snake. Next year, maybe I can get the horse.  I think you should make more. The snake tells me which animal is which year, how to write snake in Chinese, and it even has a tag where you can write its name.  The snake is so cute!”

I also thought this is a wonderful idea.  As my daughter mentioned, the tags include the Chinese character for “snake” and a calendar that tells you which of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac you are according to the year you are born.  My children have a basic understanding of the Chinese zodiac but having a product like this reinforces the meaning and makes them interested in learning more.  It really is inspiring to see how a simple product can effectively promote the Chinese culture.  It also helps my children appreciate and respect their own culture because they see someone else outside of their own family who embraces it, as well.

On Build-a-Bear’s website, it was nice to see a little blurb in the product description of the meaning behind the animal (this is from last year’s Year of the Dragon):

Each year of the Chinese calendar is represented by a special animal.  2012 is the Year of the Dragon.  The dragon symbolizes energy, creativity and wealth.  If you are born under the Year of the Dragon you have strong leadership abilities.  You have natural charisma and are very lucky.  Celebrate your year with this special dragon. Personalize this animal with clothing and accessories to make the perfect unique gift.

I was a little disappointed, however, to see so little in the description from the Year of the Snake.  It would be nice to see the same level of depth of information from year to year.  I would also love to see Build-a-Bear include references to where children can learn more about the history of the Chinese zodiac and Chinese New Year.  I do hope that Build-a-Bear continues this Limited Edition collection to teach children of all cultures about the Chinese zodiac and Chinese New Year in which they may not have gotten the exposure otherwise.

DISCLOSURE:  I received the “Year of the Snake” as part of a cultural promotional program with Asian Black Community, Build-a-Bear Workshop and The Mommy Factor.  Since this item is only available for a limited time, it might be sold out in Build-a-Bear Workshop stores and online website.  No other compensation was received.  Views expressed are always 100% my own.




Leave a Comment
  1. bicultural mama / Feb 24 2013 7:40 PM

    Very cool item, great picture, too!

  2. Asianmommy / Feb 26 2013 9:44 PM

    This is adorable, and so nice that Build-A-Bear chooses to celebrate Chinese New Year.

  3. mommylok / Feb 27 2013 1:29 PM

    I agree!

  4. Nicole / Jan 4 2016 6:31 PM

    Do you know where I can get one! I e looked everywhere and my son would really really love this… he was born in the year of the snake and I really want to teach him about Chinese culture when he grows up and I think this would be perfect. Thank You.


    • mommylok / Jan 4 2016 7:45 PM

      Hi Nicole, unfortunately I believe this was a limited edition product from BuildABear. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to the company and ask though! Also, a fellow blogger friend of mine blogs about multicultural topics and has written about the Chinese culture, check out her site: She may be resourceful when looking for ways to teach your son!

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