"Gong hay fat choy" or "Kung shi fa chai"
Today we had a wonderful day celebrating Chinese New Year with Goh san, Frances, Beckett and Clodia’s mum and Karin and Ted, Jessica and Jeremy’s mum and dad. They all did something special with us and taught us about this festival, which takes place in China and all around the world, where people from China live. We already know that red is the most important colour in China and on New Year, people get “hong pow” which is an envelope like the ‘toshidama’ which people give to children on New Year in Japan. We got money in some of our “hong pow” and we also got chocolate money.
In Chinese we say, ‘Xin Nian Kuai Le” which means ‘happy new year’ and we also say, “kung shi fa chai” which means happiness and good luck. In Cantonese people say “gong hay fat choy”. Goh san taught us how to say a few words in Chinese e. g. walk – gchou; laugh – sheow; cry – ku and we counted all the way from one to ten viz. i, uh, san, su, ooh, lieuw, chi, pah, chi’owe, suw. She made delicious gyoza (in Chinese you say ‘jiyowtsu’) together with us. We had chicken mince, nira, salt and pepper. We put a small teaspoonful of the mixture onto a circle shaped flat piece of dough, much smaller than a pancake and we had to pinch the sides to close them. They ended up being the shape of half a moon or a semi circle. Some of us wanted to eat more than three even after having eaten our own snack and of course some of us didn’t want to try them, which our teachers understand. Our classroom smelled like a restaurant when the day started and it seemed to make many of us hungry during the day. Liam, Vincent, Adrien and Elisa were the ones who made all of the gyoza. The rest of us were playing and doing activities and enjoyed eating them.
Our large group art project today, involved gluing small origami paper squares onto a large piece of paper. The large piece of paper was actually four pieces of paper joined together. Today we used purple, blue, green and orange. The origami squares were all patterned and made the art work look very colourful. When we had finished gluing the squares on we took paint dot markers and we made dots all over the paper. It was a really fun activity as we did actions all around the table while making dots; we walked around the table, we ran around the table, we jumped around the table, we swayed at the table and created a fabulous finished product. We sang all the time as we moved and made the colourful dots on the paper.
When we arrived at school upstairs, we noticed that there were Chinese traditional clothes lying on the carpet. We straight away dressed up with Tokutaro dressing in a musketeer uniform, Beckett chose a traditional “Kung Fu” style outfit, Ava chose a Chinese jacket and wore a gold crown on her head. We were all so inspired to dress up and it was so much fun. Frances, Clodia and Beckett’s mum came to do activities with us and talk a bit about Chinese New Year. We made red and gold lanterns using gold paint on red paper. We folded the paper in half and drew lines with a pencil which we then cut out. We decorated the paper with star, spiral and dragon stamps and created fabulous Chinese lanterns. We attached some string to the top and then added a chopstick so that we could carry them without squashing them, at the end of the day
Our next activity was making paper cup dragons. We used pom poms, wiggly eyes, paper cups with a hole in the bottom, streamers etc and taped and glued the many parts onto the paper cups. It looked like a dragon breathing fire. When you blew through the mouth of the cup, the air went through the cup and made the streamers blow as if there was fire coming out of the dragons mouth, like the illustration here below.
We did a map search today and looked at our large map with animals from all around the world. We managed to find China which had a panda on it. Panda’s come from China and eat mostly bamboo. Frances chose the story “Tiki Tiki Tembo” to read to us as it is a famous Chinese story. It is about two brothers, one who had a really short name and one who had a really long name. The long name became a problem as it was really hard to for the younger brother to say. We won’t tell you the rest of the story but it is one of Shelley’s favourites. Frances also read a book called “Bringing in the new year”.
We ate mochi and fortune cookies which had messages inside them. We also received “hong pow”; in fact we received two of them. One was from Frances and one was from Karin and Ted, Jeremy and Jessica’s mum and dad. One had money in it and one had chocolate money. We want to say a huge thank you to our mums, dads and teachers for preparing so many things for us to enjoy, in celebration of Chinese New Year.
Love Shelley, Darren, Hisami, Ayaka, Liezel, Nanako, Goh, Christine and Maryna