Monday, January 26, 2009

The Year of the Ox

Happy Chinese New Year! We have been celebrating in my kindergarten class for the past two school days. A dad came in and told how the holiday is celebrated. We had green tea in cups from China, dumplings, rice and sesame crackers and fortune cookies. Each child was given the traditional red envelope. These are fancy little red and gold envelopes decorated with symbols of good luck. They are meant to contain money, but ours had chocolate coins in them (from the Netherlands--as the ones from China have been found tainted). We practiced writing numbers from one to ten in both English and Chinese. I took each child's picture in some really gorgeous embroidered silk outfits that used to belong to some of my former students. I will email the pictures to each parent.

But the biggest hit was the dragon dance, performed by three or four children at a time until all had had a chance. I have a CD of energetic Chinese music that was perfect for the dance.

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The dragon was made for me many years ago by a white American dad.

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We have a few more activities in the coming days, but they are having to be worked into the all-important (to kindergartners!) Hundredth Day of School in which we do tons of activities honoring the number 100. This Thursday is the Hundredth Day. But even when these celebrations arrive in the same week, we will still do our best to complete many fun and educational activities for them both.

6 comments:

Kimberlee said...

You really make me miss teaching kindergarten. High school kids are interesting in their own way, but I've still got a lot to learn before I'll see the kind (or even a glimpse) of enthusiasm you've captured in your photos. It's obvious that you do a great job with them. Is it half-day or full-day (for the kids)?

S N B said...

It is a full day for them and a fuller day for me. Their day is from 8:25 to 2:50, but with the extended day program, they can arrive at 7am and leave at 6 pm.---which is a very long day for some. I'm usually at school before 8 and leave sometime around 5. Many of my coworkers stay much later, but I work hard to find balance in my life.

Floridacracker said...

Great activities! I bet they love it.
Balance! Yes, the teaching life can be all consuming if you don't draw the line somewhere.

Dani said...

Elizabeth has been having the best week at school learning about the Chinese New Year. When she gets home, I'll have to show her your dragon pic. I have a feeling we might be constructing our own sometime.

Kimberlee said...

Yes...I used to be the extended care person at my school. For about six or seven years I had kids from 7am until the last one was picked up at 7pm. Somewhere in there I taught a full day of school...not sure how I survived those years!

I love seeing all your fun activities! Thanks for sharing them.

clairvoyant said...

Chinese New Year for 2009 is on the 26th of January: the Year of the Yin Earth Ox.

In Chinese Astrology each sign is represented by an animal. There are 12 animal signs in total, each corresponding to a lunar year, with each sign also having 5 elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water). In certain years, particular elements are more prominent. For instance in 2005, the ‘wood’ element is very prominent so therefore it is 2005, Year of the Wood Rooster. The special combination of the Sign and Element only occurs once every 60 years.

As Chinese Astrology is one of the oldest types of Astrology, the origins of naming the years after animals is unknown. But a popular legend is that Buddha (c.563-c.483 B.C) invited all the animals to visit him, and as a demonstration of thanks to those who came, he dedicated a year to each of the animals according to the order in which they arrived: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.