Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Week 3 Chinese New Year 新年快乐!

Gong Xi Fa Chai! This week our school will look at all aspect of Chinese New Year. From the stories, history and culture, thru to food and greeting. We will all learn some key phrases such as GongXi Gong Xi (congratulations) or Gong Xi Fa Cai (Congratulation for good fortune). The highlight of the week will have to be the Chinese couplets writing. The children enjoy learning Chinese calligraphy in class and have been practicing they skills. 

Some worksheets containing all the key elements related to Chinese new year will come home with the children today and they are also making their very Chinese new year story book. 

History of Chinese New Year - The Legend of Nian (年的传说) 
The Chinese New Year (農曆新年, Nónglì Xīnnían), also known as the Lunar New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.  It is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
The Chinese New Year period also known as Spring Festival starts on on 23rd or 24th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar and ends with the Lantern Festival which is on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Lunar New Year (which is a full moon).

The legend of Nian
Besides historical records, there are also many stories and legends worth mentioning.  The  first and most well known is the legend of Nian (Year "Nian" as in New Year –"Xin Nian"): There was a monster in ancient times with a body of a bull and the head of lion.  It was a ferocious animal that lived in the mountains and hunted for a living.  Towards the end of winter when there was nothing to eat Nian would visit the villages and attack and eat whatever it could causing the villagers to live in terror.  Over time the villagers realized that the ferocious Nian was afraid of three things: the color scarlet, fire, and noise.
Eventually, the villagers came together and agreed that when it was time for Nian's annual visit towards the end of winter they would start a fire in front of every door, hang a scarlet painted board in front of every house, and not go to sleep but rather make noise.
One night when Nian was spotted coming down the mountain they started the fires, put up the boards painted with scarlet, and stayed up all night long making noises.  The monster came down saw and heard the ruckus, freaked out, and ran into the mountains never to return again.  The next morning everyone got up congratulated each other and had a big celebration.  The next year they repeated the ritual and it has been passed down generation to generation until today, and thus the custom of Guo Nian (过年) was established. (source: qingdaochineseguide)

Here are some highlights from the calligraphy session: