Monday the 8th of February was the official start of Chinese New Year. At kindergarten this has been a greatly anticipated event where we have been researching, discussing and sharing knowledge about the importance of celebrating Chinese New Year Festivities.
Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history. It is the grandest and most important annual event for Chinese people. The festival lasts for 15 days from the 1st to 15th day of the first lunar month. According to the 12 animals signs of the Chinese zodiac, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey.
An important part of Chinese New Year festivities is giving children a red envelope which traditionally has money inside, however our children were pleasantly surprised to find a chocolate coin in theirs. Upon giving the red envelopes we were careful to keep with tradition and present with two hands and our children remembered to receive it with their two hands (palms facing upwards).
Red envelopes, also called red packets, lucky money or hongbao in Chinese are a popular monetary gift given on some important occasions or festivals in China, especially widely seen during the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). It is a Chinese New Year gift with money stuffed into a red paper for children The red packets are usually presented by parents and grandparents to children during Chinese New Year, and is probably one of the most recognised traditions that is observed during the Festival.
Here are some of the children’s comments about the celebration;
Austin: “I had a chocolate coin, it was yummy”.Kayla: “I got a chocolate coin, I ate it in the car”.
Matteo: “I had chocolate money in my envelope, mine didn’t melt. I ate it when I got home. I loved the spaghetti”.Pippa: “I liked everything”.
Maximilian: “There was a chocolate coin in mine too”.Tanner: “A chocolate coin was in there and it was all sticky”.
As part of our celebrations, on Wednesday we held our Chinese banquet. At Mairtown having shared kai is a great ritual where we love to recognise the diversity among our kindergarten whānau. We are fortunate to have wonderful connections with one of our past families who run Big Wall takeaways. A huge thank you to Ken and Kelly for preparing such a scrumptious feast of noodles, rice, black bean and beef, chicken and cashew (to name a few options), there was plenty to share with all our children and whānau.
“Children’s learning and development are fostered if the well-being of their family and community is supported; if their family, culture, knowledge and community are respected; and if there is a strong connection and consistency among all aspects of the child’s word” (Te Whāriki, Ministry of Education, 1996, p.42).
Speaking on behalf of the teaching team it is so rewarding holding events such as Chinese New Year, especially to receive positive feedback from our whānau, “Wonderful time, thank you” “What a lovely thing to do for the Chinese and other students! Lots of fun!!” “I love foods, just like in the Philippines. Wonderful time for the family and kids especially for the staff". "Such a great turn out. Love it how the Mairtown community gets on board for these events. Thank you”.
We had such a lovely time celebrating Chinese New Year, thank you to our lovely Donna for organising the feast, and a big thank you to everyone who contributed. We are fortunate to receive wonderful ongoing support from our kindergarten whānau.
Gong Xi Fa Cai – Wishing you to be prosperous in the coming yearSusie