Friday, 22 February 2013

The end of Chinese New Year - Lanterns Festival

The end of Chinese New Year - Lanterns Festival (元宵節 yuán xiāo jié).

Children had so many questions about the story of the Lanterns Festival and we had fun solving the lantern riddles at the end as a traditional thing to do during this day.

The story involved a concubine named 元宵yuán xiāo. Emperor漢武帝hàn wǔ dì has a favourite adviser called 東方朔dōng fāng shuò.

dōng fāng shuò went to the garden one day and heard this girl called 元宵yuán xiāo crying and ready to jump into the well to commit suicide. He stopped her and realized that she was very sad as she never had a chance to see her family since she’s been living in the palace.

dōng fāng shuò promised to find out a solution to allow yuán xiāo to reunite with her family.

dōng fāng shuò went to the biggest town called長安cháng ān and set up a fortune telling stall. Everyone got the same prediction that on the 15th Jan lunar calendar, they will burn by fire.

Everyone was very scared and worried about their future and asked for help.

dōng fāng shuò told them the god of fire would send a fairy in red riding a silver donkey to burn down the town. They should plead the fairy for help. The red fairy left a message for the emperor. The emperor asked dōng fāng shuò’s advice. dōng fāng shuò said that the god of fire loved to eat tāng yuán (rice balls in sweet soup) and emperor should order every house in the city to make the same to worship the god of fire. Also, every house should make & hang red lanterns. Lastly, everyone should carry their lanterns to the street and watch lanterns, decoration, fireworks to fool the god of fire to think the city was burned.

The emperor followed the plan and it worked.

yuán xiāo’s family went and reunited with her. The town was saved so the emperor ordered that they should do the same every year. The festival was name after yuán xiāo.

Older children had a quick art time to make this lantern festival decoration. We learnt how to write Happy Lanterns Festival.

Here's the animated story.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Chinese New Year - Snake 2013

 恭喜發財! gōng xǐ fā cái !Congratulations and prosperous wealth!

This is another phrase we learnt to say during the Chinese New Year. 
Children enjoyed the stories - the story of Nian and the 12 zodiac animals. 

We have been busy this week!See what we are up to!!
壓歲錢 yā suì qián (suppress age money) is normally given to children during the Chinese New Year.

Money in red envelops 紅包 hóng bāo are also commonly used for family occasions too like for the new born baby and at the wedding. We call it lucky money and hope this symbolic gesture will bring our children much needed luck and good work in the journey of learning Mandarin Chinese!!

發糕 fā gāo (prosperity cake) is streamed Chinese cupcakes that made of rice flour, self raising flour, brown sugar and water. It's one of the traditional food we eat during the Chinese New Year to encourage prosperity! Fa means prosperity or raise. :-)Most children enjoyed it and one would have a very prosperity year ahead as he had 3 fa gao in the class today!

We made this for children to bring home today.
油飯 yóu fàn (Oily rice) is streamed rice dish that is made of Glutinous rice (sticky rice/sweet rice).
It is a popular dish to have for celebration, especially when new baby is born.  As we have vegetarian in the class so I made this with dried mushrooms, shallots, smoked tofu & soya source with seasoning too.

Monday, 4 February 2013

祥龍辭舊歲、靈蛇舞新春 xiáng lóng cí jiù suì 、líng shé wǔ xīn chūn

xiáng lóng cí jiù suì 、líng shé wǔ xīn chūn
Lucky dragon ending the old year, wise snake flourish the new spring!

This is the spring couplets we are giving away this year - the year of snake 2013.
All thanks to the OCAC (Overseas Chinese Affairs Council) for their support!