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Chinese New Year celebrations

Chinese New Year celebrations

The arrival of Spring is celebrated in every culture throughout the world. Recently we embraced the Spring Festival of Chinese New Year within academic lessons as well as with special food; posters around the school; games; crafts and sharing of information by Chinese pupils of their culture and traditions from home.

Staff and pupils enjoyed honouring the beginning of the Lunar Year of the Tiger. Posters on Chinese heritage, made by Chinese pupils, were displayed around school buildings, this was followed by the traditional New Year’s Day themed lunch, a celebration to include an evening of themed crafts, Mahjong, chess and Go, snacks and tea tasting, Chinese calligraphy and the opportunity to hone chopstick skills! Individual House events took place, pupils enjoyed dumpling making and listening to their fellow Chinese pupils talk about their experience of the festivities in China. The school library shared their special Chinese New Year reading and resource list and Chinese Language teacher, Ms Shao’s video taught staff and pupils to say a ‘Happy New Year’ greeting in Mandarin. Although slightly delayed, the celebrations culminated with a special event in The Old Library to honour the final day of festivities, The Lantern Festival. The festival aims to promote reconciliation, peace and forgiveness, and marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. During the evening pupils and staff enjoyed a buffet dinner personally prepared by local Chinese chef, Andy Chu. This was followed by jasmine tea and a cookery demonstration. He gave each pupil a pot of congee, savoury rice porridge, to take away and try another time.

One pupil commented: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the Lunar New Year celebrations that have been organised for us. I thank all of the catering staff for serving an oriental lunch and the people who participated in the festivities for creating such a memorable atmosphere for everyone to enjoy and still celebrate the Spring Festival albeit not at home. Similarly, those who have never properly celebrated the Chinese New Year have most likely gathered some insight into Chinese culture.”

Pagan Bishop, International Pupil Co-ordinator, commented: “The Chinese Spring Festival is similar in cultural importance to Christmas or Thanksgiving, so finding ways to mark the occasion helps our pupils of Chinese heritage feel more at home and that they aren’t missing out on the fun with their families. Since two billion people celebrate the festival around the world, it’s important that those of different cultures know more about it. After a couple of years of lockdown and periods of isolation for many pupils, they are noticeably more aware and appreciative of enjoying each other’s company, playing games, talking and eating together.  Celebrating through food is a direct way to appreciate a culture and is always popular with young people. So over the two-week festival we focused on traditional snacks, dumpling making, the special lunch for Chinese New Year’s Day at the beginning and dinner for the Lantern Festival at the end of the festival.”