At I4 we celebrate the Chinese New Year

The children in I4 celebrated Chinese New Year this past February 8th. Their IB unit of enquiry focused on world cultures and traditions, specifically African, Chinese, Arab and Hindu culture. The children were involved in discovering the characteristics of these cultures, their celebrations, language, habits, housing, and food.

So… what better way to learn about Chinese culture than from Chinese students and a Chinese family from the school? Luna and Hanhan offered to introduce us to the most relevant facets of the Chinese holiday par excellence, a celebration that lasts for 15 days. 

They told us about how on New Year’s Eve families clean their homes to get rid of bad energies and make room for the good things to come, and how fireworks are set off to scare away bad spirits. He also told us about the typical food, the dumplings that reproduce the shape of ancient Chinese coins, the legendary figure of the Dragon and how red is the colour that reflects good luck. That is why, on the morning of Chinese New Year, the children find red envelopes with money, the so-called Hongbao, under their pillow.

Finally, Luna explained that on the last day of the celebration, the Lion and Dragon Dance is performed, the “Lantern Festival” is organised: families prepare paper lanterns which they then light on fire on the night which gives its name to the festival; these lanterns guide the good spirits into the houses. 

Also, did you know that on the 2nd day of the Chinese New Year celebration, the dogs’ birthday is celebrated and they are given special food, attention, and love? We didn’t know this and it was a pleasure to learn so many things about this tradition so different from ours. 

But this is not all. We created a paper dragon with chains, learned about Chinese number writing, made our own Lucky Red Envelopes, decorated lanterns for the class, and ate Chinese food with chopsticks. Finally we closed the celebration by transforming into a giant dragon doing its dance and painted our faces with this lunar year’s animal….. Do you know what it is? The dragon!

Miss Morgan y Miss Francesca