The children in I4 celebrated Chinese New Year this past February 1st. Their IB unit of inquiry focused on world cultures and traditions, specifically Chinese, African, Arabic 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 a Chinese IA EPO student? Luna offered to introduce us to the most relevant facets of the Chinese festival par excellence, a celebration that lasts 15 days.
She 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. She also told us about the typical food, the “dumplings”, the legendary figure of the Dragon and how red is the colour that reflects good luck. That is why, in the morning of Chinese New Year, children find red envelopes with money under their pillows, the so-called “Lucky Money”.
Finally, Luna explained that on the last day of the celebration, the Lion and Dragon Dance is performed, fireworks are exploded, and the “Lantern Festival” is organised: families prepare paper lanterns and light them on during the night that gives its name to the festival. Also, did you know that on the 2nd day of the Chinese New Year the dogs’ birthday is celebrated and they are given special food, attention and love? We did not and it had been a pleasure learning sono many facts about a tradition that differs so much from ours.
But that’s not all. Luna brought us some cards with the children’s names written in ancient Chinese, so we could compare letters and directionality of the writing. We created a paper dragon with chains, we learnt about the writing of Chinese numbers and we painted our faces with the animal of this lunar year. Do you know what it is? The tiger!