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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!