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During the Dragon Boat Festival celebration at the end of Term 2, more than ten Chinese boys’ mums volunteered to help in our Chinese classes during the week-long celebration. To thank them for their generous time and support, we invited them to join us at the assembly last week and watch a very special performance – Chinese folk dancing.

Chinese folk dancing is a perfect combination of song, music, and dance. It is a representation of the deep and diverse cultural connections of the people in China. Added gradually with the rapid movement, the harmony step and the unified rhythm, the Chinese traditional dance expresses emotions of pleasure, anger, sorrow, and joy.

The First dance, performed by the Sure Dance Academy, was about visiting West Lake in mid-summer. During the performance, we could feel and imagine the drizzle, gentle lake breeze, green lotus leaves and elegant beauties when we were enjoying watching the performance.

Known in Mandarin as ‘Duan Wu Jie’, the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated widely across Asia.

Beyond Mainland China, regions like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia all have their own versions.

The origin story is that there was once an imperial scholar called Qu Yuan, much beloved for constantly standing up for the common people against corruption and injustice.  He was framed for treason by jealous court officials. Distraught by the weak imperial leadership, Qu Yuan threw himself into a river. The people tried desperately to rescue him by racing out in boats but failed. Wanting to retrieve the body for an honourable funeral, the people hurled dumplings into the water to distract the fish from Qu Yuan’s body.

The festival is widely celebrated with the racing of dragon boats and eating of sticky-rice dumplings. In some regions, people would release river lanterns on the river to pray for Qu Yuan. The Second dance the Junior school boys enjoyed was about the river lantern releasing. It was such a great opportunity for the Junior School boys to be immersed in a rich performing art form of another culture.

Shelby Baker
Chinese Teacher – Junior School