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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year
Karen Smith

As part of Canford’s International programme, pupils joined one fifth of the world’s population in celebrating Chinese New Year in fine style over two days with a number of events aimed at offering the opportunity to develop a wider appreciation of Chinese culture.  While Canford does not have a large number of pupils from China, those currently at the school enjoyed explaining to their peers some of their customs and culture, sampling typical food and playing traditional Chinese games.

On Monday 4th February, Chinese New Year’s Eve, pupils sampled fine Chinese tea, biscuits, cakes and fortune cookies, with activities to try including Chinese board games such as Chinese chess and Go围棋, Mahjong麻将, calligraphically writing, brush ink painting, origami and paper craft.  Meanwhile, the catering team got into the spirit of the festivities on Tuesday lunchtime – the first day of the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) – decorating the school servery with lanterns and serving a wonderful display of Chinese style food wearing traditional Chinese outfits.  Chinese pupils invited British pupils to eat with them, which was an informal opportunity to understand the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese.

Finally on Tuesday evening, the school’s informal Yellow Hour – where pupils and staff can give free rein to their talents, from poetry readings to musical recitals – took on the Spring Festival theme of moving from darkness to light and winter to spring.  Chinese, American and German poems were read aloud by both pupils and staff.  Pupils then took over Salisbury House kitchen to make, cook and eat dumplings.  One Turkish pupil there commented that at home they have a similar style of food with meat wrapped in pastry. In the same style, the Cornish have pasties and the Italians ravioli. 

Upper Sixth International Pupil Leader Jorge de la Cruz commented:

“It was great to see our Chinese pupils so excited to share their culture as well as to have so many students engaging with the games. There was even a brief karaoke session towards the end of the evening when popular songs from China were quite entertainingly interpreted by Canfordians. The events were very successful, attracting a variety of pupils all willing to engage with the Chinese New Year, celebrated by one in five people across the world.”

Pagan Bishop, International Student Co-ordinator, and Chinese teacher Shao Tzu-Ling were delighted with the reaction from pupils and staff:

“These celebrations were a great way to illustrate the vibrancy of Chinese culture.   It was good to see our Chinese speakers, both those native to China and British pupils studying the language at school, proudly demonstrating the country’s traditions to their fellow pupils, who in turn were enthusiastic to learn more about Eastern customs.  Thank you to everyone involved in helping to create such a memorable festival for the whole school community.” 

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