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新年快乐！恭喜发财！万事如意！Xīnnián kuàilè, Gōngxǐ fācái, Wànshì rúyì. Happy new year everyone, may you have a prosperous New Year, and wishing you all the best.
As many of you may know, we recently celebrated the Chinese New Year last month. Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, marks the new year of the Lunar calendar, beginning on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice and ending fifteen days later on the full moon. This year, 2020, it began on the 25th of January and ends on the 8th of February.
There are many myths and customs associated with the festival. It was traditionally a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. The evening of the day before Chinese New Year (eve), is often when families gather for an annual reunion dinner. It is also very traditional for every family to clean their house, in order to sweep away any bad fortune and to make space for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of doors and windows with red paper-cuts and couplets which usually represent good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. The older generations/those who are married give children red envelopes which contain money. The colour red symbolises good luck and is a symbol to ward off evil spirits.
The Chinese zodiacs are a twelve year cycle in which an animal represents each year. There are twelve Chinese zodiac animals - Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2020 is the year of the Rat.
On Saturday, we had our first class back at Kohia Terrace school. We taught our students about the major cultural festival. We taught them words relating to CNY, such as 红包 hóng bāo - red envelope, 灯笼 dēng lóng - lantern, 饺子 jiǎozi - dumplings, and more.
We got the children to create their own red envelopes so their parents could give it to them at the end of the lesson with a little gift inside of them which is considered to be 'lucky money', which is one of the main traditions of Chinese New Year.
Our tutors showed them a video of the story of Lunar New Year and how it originated. It all started with the monster called “年Nián” when went to the villages. Nián wrecked havoc all around the villages, and as a result the people became extremely afraid of the monster. Each year, Nián would come to the villages, and the people would hide in the homes, hoping that Nián would go away soon and leave them alone. One day, a wise old man came up with the idea on how to scare the monster away.
If you want to learn more about Chinese culture and the language, don't forget to sign up with Pistachio Mandarin Language Centre. Click here for more information about our classes!
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Hi everyone, happy new year! We hope you all enjoyed your holidays!
Friendly reminder that Term 1 2020 starts on the 15th of February. If you haven't signed up yet, or have any questions, make sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, text on 0211846993, or click here for our "Contact Us" page.
On the 14th of December 2019, the last day of Term 4, we had a Christmas staff lunch and Yatchun took the team of tutors out for minigolf. This was to thank the staff for giving their best effort to make 2019 a great year. We really appreciate their positive contribution and hard work. This Christmas function was a team building exercise and it brought all of our tutors together. It was a great time for all the tutors to meet each other if they hadn't already, and to network and share some teaching tips and ideas.
Minigolf was new to a lot of us. In spite the hot weather, we learnt the game through teeing off on the Safari golf course that was surrounded by animals and obstacles. We hit and hit the ball before it finally got into the hole. We had lots of fun and laughter, and it was certainly a great experience.
This outing ties into the topic of "Sports and Hobbies" that was taught in term 4 to a couple of our classes, including "Golf" 高尔夫球 gāo ěr fū qiú.
Below are some photos and short videos of the Christmas lunch and the minigolf outing.
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Wow, what a great year! Term 4 2019 is now finished, Christmas is over and the New Year is just around the corner! To acknowledge the contribution from our students and staff throughout this year, Pistachio Mandarin decided to celebrate the last class on the 14th December, with all our tutors, students and parents.
There were fun games and activities, including an exciting Christmas story told by our tutors Sylvia and Shirley lǎo shī (linked here) and the 小兔子 xiǎo tù zǐ (little rabbit) video was role played by our students (linked here). The small xiǎo tùzǐ knew not to open the door for the 狼 láng (wolf). They knew to open the door for their mummy. This time round, instead of the 妈妈兔子 mā mā tù zǐ (mummy rabbit) coming home, it was the 圣诞老人 shèng dàn lǎo rén (Santa Clause) who rang the bell with a bag of goodies. The children were so happy to open the door for Santa Claus.
One of our adult students, Dorin, graciously agreed to dress up as Santa Claus. The kids all gathered around Santa, and he said in Mandarin:
"我有礼物送给你" wǒ yǒu lǐ wù sòng gěi nǐ (I have presents for you). As each kid received their presents, they wished Santa a Merry Christmas; "祝你圣诞节快乐 zhù nǐ shèngdàn jié kuài lè".
Thereafter there was a shared morning tea where parents, students and teachers all got together to network and to enjoy the food.
Thank you to all the students, parents, teachers who have helped made this year an awesome one. We are looking forward to another great year in 2020. Pictures and a video are attached below. Merry Christmas everyone, and have a Happy New Year!
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Dàjiā hǎo (Hello everyone)
Huān yíng huí lái ( Welcome back)
Pistachio Mandarin Language Centre classes resumed two Saturdays ago at our Kohia Terrace School in Epsom, and we are so excited to welcome everyone back for Term 4!
Due to recommencing since the holidays, we did a lot of revision of the first week back.
In the junior’s class, we introduced new subjects on what is today’s date. Learning about dates is important as it is part of our daily conversation. Some content included:
今天是几月几日？jīn tiān shì jǐ yuè jǐ rì? - what is today’s date?
月 yuè - month
日 rì - day
今天 jīn tiān - today
To reinforce our students' learning, we used match stick size sticks to make the character s of the month and day. This is an activity that the children love to do and it will help them to gradually learn the words, dates and characters.
Our current class numbers range is from 4 – 10 students. Having a low class number benefit students enormously with the low ratio to teacher, and the tutors are able to focus more on each of the students individually.
For the second Beginner's class, we revised the topic of the weather. This included questions such as:
今天的天气这么样？Jīntiān de tiānqì zhème yàng? - What is the weather like today?
今天的天气是... Jīntiān de tiānqì shì... - Today’s weather is ...
下雨 Xià yǔ - rainy
下雪 Xià xuě - snowy
多云 duō yún - cloudy
晴天qíng tiān - sunny
We introduced the topic of sports (yùn dòng) and hobbies (Àihào). New Zealand is a sporting nation, therefore learning about sports and being able to converse in this topic is very useful.
"What is the most popular sport in New Zealand?”
“Rugby!" - 橄榄球 gǎn lǎn qiú
The All Blacks are called 全黑队 quán hēi duì
New Zealand's All Black team is the best rugby team. (新西兰的全黑队是最好的橄榄球队Xīnxīlán de quán hēi duì shì zuì hǎo de gǎnlǎnqiú duì).
In Mandarin, there are words to describe whether to hit the ball or to kick the ball.
To hit = 打 Dǎ
To kick = 踢 Tī
To play table tennis is 打乒乓球 Dǎ pīngpāng qiú
To play soccer is 踢足球 Tī zúqiú
Click here for a video link to the lesson on sports & hobbies
In the adults’ class, we introduced a current event which happened yearly in China on 1st October. This event is called the National Day (Guóqìng jié). However, this year China celebrated 70th anniversary since the People Republic of China was formed in 1949. This is a major event in China’s history. The parade was celebrated in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
Here are some video links on the celebration and the fireworks display.
The National Day is also referred to as the Golden Week (Huángjīn zhōu). The Chinese people take a week off to travel around the country and going home to see their families. Retail and tourism are on overdrive and consumer spending brings in lots of revenue which stimulates the domestic economy.
Here is a link on the National Day Golden Week.
Roads, train stations, public transports and airports are packed with traffic and people. Here is a link on National Day holiday travel forecast unveiled
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Last week on the 21st of September, Pistachio Mandarin celebrated the Mid Autumn Festival in conjunction with our last class of Term 3.
In China, Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival after Chinese New Year. The moon festival was celebrated as the ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon to pray for the harvest, good weather, and peace for their country. It was first established as a holiday in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) but is believed that Mid-Autumn Festival originated from the custom of worshiping the moon back in Zhou dynasty over 3000 years ago. Because the harvest is linked to the moon cycle, the festival takes place when the moon is at its fullest. This year, this festival took place on the 13th of September. On the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn festival takes place on the 15th of August each year. People celebrate by gathering with families, making paper lanterns and eating mooncakes. The making and the sharing of the mooncake symbolizes completeness and reunion due to its round shape. It is also said that mooncakes were used during the Yuan dynasty as a vessel for dispersing secret notes, helping the Han Chinese overthrow their Mongolian rulers. Mooncakes are usually eaten after dinner while admiring the moon.
We invited our parents to join us to celebrate the occasion and our we had activities ranging from storytelling of the legend of Chang E and Hou Yi (click here for video), and learning how to make moon cake (click here for link). The students were taught how to greet their guests by saying "Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè!" ( Happy Mid-Autumn Festival ) .
Afterwards, we had a shared morning tea, which included moon cake ( 月饼 yuèbǐng ). Mooncake is considered the main "must-eat" food for the Mid-Autumn festival. It is a Chinese dessert made up of a variety of fillings. One popular filling is the egg yolk, which represents the moon, due to its shape.
Everyone had a great time celebrating this traditional Chinese festival together, and we can't wait for the next major festival coming up. The Dōngzhì Festival or the Winter Solstice Festival which will take place on the 22nd of December is widely celebrated in China, Japan and Korea to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
See below for some photos of Pistachio Mandarin's celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival!