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21 Princes Street, Kensington, Whangarei, New Zealand

Phone: 09 437 2742

Email: mairtown@nka.org.nz

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Monday, 3 February 2014

Celebrating Chinese New Year - The Year of the Horse

Last Friday saw the start of Chinese New Year, representing a time of new beginnings and a fresh start. This is a much anticipated event at Mairtown Kindergarten, and this year, 2014, signifies the year of the horse.

Chinese New Year celebrations take place all over the world and last for around 15 days (this year ending on the 15th February) and we at Mairtown are no exception; we have been holding a few celebrations of our own!

On Friday we began to decorate Kindergarten; we hung traditional red lanterns and even had a go at making some of our own decorations from Ang Pow (red packets). Ang Pow play an important part of Chinese tradition and are extremely auspicious among the Chinese community.

The red colour of the envelope symbolises good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.

Making this diamond shaped decoration required lots of patience. We followed some instructions that we found online, but despite its simple structure, the folding and lining up of the envelopes was complex and tricky. What a great way for us to practice following a process from start to finish, combined with a little trial and error too!

Chinese New Year is a time of celebration, reunion, forgiveness, sharing and thanksgiving.

As we gave the children their Ang Pow we were careful to uphold the tradition of passing the envelope with two hands and also of receiving it with two hands, palms facing upwards. Traditionally Ang Pow are given to children with money inside, our children were delighted to find a chocolate coin in theirs.

Ang Pow is a gift of money, which symbolises blessings, good luck, good health and success.

Next came our Chinese banquet. We are so fortunate at Mairtown to have connections to one of our past families who also happen to own a local takeaway business. They prepared a delicious feast for all our children and whānau to share consisting of noodles, fried rice, prawn crackers, beef and black bean, chicken and cashew – yum!

‘The connections we make, the actions we take, and the questions we ask each other are vital to how we develop a competent approach to culture in its many variations.’ (Shackwell, Early Childhood Australia)

This week we have continued our research and discoveries into the Chinese New Year, and observed how it instinctively integrates itself into our programme.  We have looked at the Chinese symbols used in art and writing and even practiced our own.

Plum blossom is another symbol linked to the Chinese New Year and was a wonderful resource to consider in our art studio as we continued our discussions today.

The plum blossom symbol is tied directly to the Chinese New Year, representing courage and hope. It is also much admired for blooming on bare branches during the cold winter months.

A simple combination of black Indian ink and water colour paints made some beautiful yet delicate blossom pictures.

With a few more days to go, no doubt Chinese New Year will continue to integrate itself further into our work at Kindergarten. But for now - Gung Hay Fat Choy - 恭禧發財 - Happy Chinese New Year.


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