P3/4 learn about Chinese New Year
The Twelve Animals of the Zodiac
We learned about the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. They are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and the pig. The twelve animals were set a challenge to race across a river. The rat came first because he jumped on the ox’s head, so the rat appears first in the zodiac. We were all born in the years of the snake or the dragon.
Mrs Leishman, from the Edinburgh Chinese School, came to see us. She told us a lot about the animals and she also wrote our names in Chinese writing. It was really interesting.
We have learned about Chinese New Year traditions and especially the festival food. Did you know the favourite snacks of Chinese people are water melon seeds, peanuts, fruits and sweet cakes with good luck signs on top? The New Year is also known as the Spring Festival, bringing hopes for a good harvest in the coming year? The foods eaten at New Year are different in north and south China. Sometimes people put money inside dumplings too. (It is strange, but there is also a tradition in Scotland that money is baked inside clootie dumplings).
The Dragon Dance
Chinese people welcome each New Year with a festival that includes a special Dragon Dance. The dragon has many bright colours and is very beautiful. Chinese people believe that once the dragon’s eyes are painted that it is alive.
We made small dragon puppets in class. We also made some big dragon heads out of cardboard boxes so that we could dance our own Dragon Dance. Isabella played a drum beat and we danced in groups like a long dragon, moving and swaying in time to the music. Have you ever danced a Dragon Dance?
The Willow Pattern
We learned about the story of The Willow Pattern. The story is about a boy and girl who fell in love. They could not be together in life and so turned into doves and lived happily ever after. Miss Strang, our teacher, showed us some Willow Pattern plates and we copied a poem as handwriting practice.
We also made model white doves and hung them up with our display.
Wildlife in China
We watched a DVD about wildlife in China. It was really fascinating. China looks like such a beautiful country and so very different from Scotland. We found out about amazing animals like rare red pandas and crocodiles. We also learned about wonderful birds like swallows and cranes, which bring good luck, and cormerants that catch fish for their masters.
We have seen red pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, but we would really love to visit China to see these animals in the wild.
We have all enjoyed learning about Chinese New Year. Some of us would like to learn to speak Mandarin or write in Chinese writing. One day we might even be lucky enough to visit China.
P3/4 wish you a Happy New Year – Kung hey fat choi!