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Chinese New Year is the most important festival in Chinese culture. This year, the Chinese New Year started on the 16 February and ended on the 2 March. During this period, Chinese language students from Year 7 to 12 participated in festival-related activities during lessons. On 27 February, the Chinese Society hosted the Chinese Food Market, which officially finished this year’s celebration.

In Year 7, students did paper cutting and red packet making. The special Chinese characters or symbol for the Spring Festival are 春 (spring), 喜 (happiness), 鱼 (fish to symbolise having surplus for the year). The red packet is also a must-have item for the festival. As this year is the Year of Dog, the students made a dog-themed red packet. Students also wrote their best wishes on the packets, such as 年年有余 which translates to ‘may you always get more than you wish for’ and 身体健康 which translates to ‘be in good health’ or 狗年旺旺 which means ‘be prosperous in the Year of Dog.’

In Year 8, two Chinese classes learned how to make dumplings, an essential food experience during New Year’s Eve to wish for prosperity in the coming year.

The warm-up activity was learning how to use chopsticks with a challenge to pick up jellybeans. Once students had learnt the basics of using chopsticks, the boys formed two teams and competed to pass on jellybeans using their chopsticks without dropping either.

The students were also taught how to roll dumplings, using lettuce as their filling. After mastering the fundamentals, the challenge was to make the best-looking dumpling. The reward at the end of the class was pork and chive dumplings served by Chartwells catering. The students dug into their dumplings with pure delight, most of them using their chopsticks.

In Year 10, students listened to Chinese New Year songs, and were encouraged to learn them. They also watched Happy Virtual Chinese New Year, a documentary made by Discovery Education. Through the documentary, students gained knowledge about China and how technology has changed Chinese lives giving old traditions a surprisingly modern makeover.

The Year 11 to 12 cohort watched the Chinese New Year Gala and students had class discussions about Chinese New Year traditions and celebrations. The Chinese Food Market held by the Chinese Society added to the celebration and festival atmosphere in the Senior School. The festival snack pack, which included prawn crackers, spring rolls and dumplings, were well received by students.

FangFang Qiu, Senior School Teacher, Mentor DaCosta House