At whanau time on Monday our conversations about the Chinese New Year began. Many of our older children remembered the celebration from last year and were keen to share their thoughts and experiences with the rest of the group.
We discussed the history of this ancient festival and how according to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with a fight against a mythical beast called the Nian -年. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers (and children!). To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year for the Nian to eat so it wouldn’t attack any more village people. One day however, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red, the villagers soon realised that the Nian was afraid of the colour red, hence red lanterns were hung and red spring scrolls placed on windows and doors each new year.
After the story we hung our own lanterns.
Joel shared his knowledge of ang pow:
“There's money in it. It's for Chinese New Year. It's real real real money. They are lucky envelopes I think, is there money in these ones?”
Over the week we have continued to look at many of the Chinese symbols represented in art and writing, introduced ourselves to a few Chinese words and have begun to get an understanding of the traditional customs at New Year.
It was wonderful to see so many families bring in their Chinese treasures from home to share with the rest of Kindergarten.
Here Leah practices the ancient art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan (tai chi - 太極拳) using a sword brought in by Daniela (Lucas's mum).
The sharing of food with our tamariki, whanau and community is something we truly value here at Mairtown. A big thank you to William’s family - Ivy and Jack - who supplied all the delicious food from their local take-away shop.
“Children’s learning and development are fostered if the well-being of their family and community is supported; if their family, culture, knowledge and community are respected; and if there is a strong connection and consistency among all aspects of the child’s word” (Te Whāriki, NZ Early Childhood Curriculum, p.42)
One of the customs associated with the Chinese New Year is the giving of ‘ang pow' (Chinese red packets). Traditionally these are filled with money and given to children and young people as gifts. These packets are beautifully decorated with writing or illustrations symbolising blessings, good wishes, prosperity and good health.
Red is seen as a lucky colour which will bring good luck to the person receiving it.
Here is a little photo clip of events from the week so far.