Chinese New Year 2023
Gong hei fat choy! Or happy lunar new year! Chinese New Year, of the Spring Festival, signifies the start of the new year, beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice, this year that is January 22nd, and ending on the full moon. It is often celebrated with family and friends, special meals, fireworks, and gift giving. At Willows, we also celebrate this wonderful festival! Each year, in the run up to Chinese New Year, we teach the children the story of the great race; when the animals came together under instruction from the emperor to swim across the river to earn themselves a spot in the lunar calendar with their own zodiac sign, a gift from the emperor for completing the race.
Each year, the calendar moves to the next animal. This year is the year of the Rabbit! To many, being born in the year of the rabbit means you are thoughtful and kind-hearted. Each animal in the zodiac has their own traits and fortunes.
Today, at Willows, celebrate the new year in a number of ways. The children were invited to come to nursery dressed as their lunar animal. We learned the story of the great race! We recreate the story using props and crafts as well as re-enactments and drawings. Another way we celebrate the new year is to decorate our classrooms with lanterns, artwork and beautiful gold and red decorations we have created ourselves. We also change our roleplay area to a Chinese restaurant!
The older children learn about their zodiac signs, with many of them being born in the year of the pig or dog, we talk about the different traits, lucky numbers, colours and symbols they may have. We also create artwork based on the years animal. This year, we made a range of rabbits across the school in a variety of ways, from painting, to sticking to making 3D models.
The children also tried to write some words in mandarin. They tried writing rabbit and some important words such as luck, hope, kindness, and family. The children also tried learning some of these words in Cantonese!
Today, we also had a themed lunch. With Chinese style noodles, chicken, and other Chinese style treats! The children talked about their favourite types of food and what they liked best about their Chinese themed meal.
Not only have the children had a delicious and healthy themed lunch, the pre-schoolers also had the chance to make their own spring rolls! They filled their rice papers with a range of different vegetables of their choice before trying to carefully roll them into a spring roll shape. They tasted delicious dipped in a sauce of soy and honey!