Year 4 Celebrates Chinese New Year

21st January 2020

On Tuesday 21 January, Year 4 pupils had an amazing day celebrating Chinese New Year which is the year of the rat. In China, the rat is viewed as a symbol of intelligence and quick-witt and according to the myth, the Jade Emperor organised a race for a group of animals on his birthday, the results of which determined the order of the Chinese zodiac. Legend goes that the rat was able to hitch a ride on the back of the ox, jumping off at the finish line in order to win first place and be named the first animal in the cycle!

Children had a day packed full of activities exploring Chinese traditions. Some of our Year 4 parents also volunteered to assist with the activities on the day with special guests coming in to host dance and music workshops. The morning began with a Ribbon and Chinese Lion Dance performance by our guest performers introducing the children to the colourful and mesmerizing Dragon. Chinese dragons are powerful and benevolent symbols in Chinese culture, with supposed control over watery phenomena, e.g. summoning rain during a drought. Dragons are everywhere in China — in legends, festivals, astrology, art, names, and idioms and historical buildings.

Children’s activities also included, dumpling and lantern making. Children’s dumplings were delicious and each child decorated a traditional takeaway pot to transport their delicacies home, giving them a taste test beforehand! The children worked hard assisting each other with their embroidered red lanterns creating a beautiful finished piece. Calligraphy which is considered one of the four best friends of ancient Chinese literati, along with playing stringed musical instruments, painting and the board game, ‘Go!’. Our special guests held two workshops including a Lion Dance workshop where the children learnt the technique to create the unique movements of the dragon. In groups of three they practiced the choreography and later were able to try costumes on and perform to their class. Meanwhile, in the library, a music workshop took place, the children were introduced to new Chinese instruments and have a go on several. They learnt about the Erhuk, an instrument commonly used in Chinese operas and the Guzheng a large stringed instrument, similar to the shape and size of a keyboard, which is used in concert performances.

Finally, the whole school enjoyed a wonderful Chinese themed lunch, thanks to our catering team! Thank you also to Mr Reed for organising the day, the parent volunteers for assisting and the special guests for their workshops. The children had an amazing Chinese New Year!


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