“Xin Nian Kuai Le!”
Happy New Year!
Sydney boasts a vibrant and active Chinese-Australian community, and every year the city hosts a days-long celebration of the Lunar New Year. Having spent the last several months studying Mandarin language and Chinese culture with teacher Sherry Zhang, TGS students were excited to be a part of the celebration. They were also fortunate enough to take part in one of Sydney’s biggest Lunar New Year celebrations – the parade through the city!
Mark clowning around with Rabbit
In the parade, students paid homage to this year’s zodiac sign – 2011 is the year of the Rabbit. They carried carrot-shaped lanterns and pushed large-scale representations of famous fictional rabbits: Thumper from Bambi, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, Roger Rabbit, and Rabbit from the Winnie the Pooh stories. With choreographed moves they rehearsed for weeks, the students made their way through the streets of Sydney to excited onlookers.
Stefan and Nangsal, TGS Interns, push Roger Rabbit along the parade route.
Thumper and the TGS crew
“Millions of people were watching! From their apartment buildings to the stands to the couches back home!” said Yada. “This wasn’t just a trivial parade with your neighborhood watching, this was the second largest Chinese new year parade, the real sha-bang!”
Students had additional opportunities to celebrate the New Year with classmates, friends and family. To practice their writing skills, each student created a handwritten card with a greeting written in Mandarin, and sent it back home to their parents. They also participated in a celebratory New Year’s banquet, wearing red for good luck and eating traditional foods. As part of the banquet, they wrote Chinese New Year fortunes in Mandarin and “gift exchanged” them with their fellow classmates.
The Lunar New Year celebrations are only one part of the overall coursework for Mandarin class this term. Sherry is including additional language training and preparation for the upcoming term in Beijing. In addition to learning more about the Lunar New Year, the cultural focus this semester is on Confucianism, specifically Confucian family values and education virtue. Students are currently exploring their own family trees, and in an innovative class assignment, are working directly with parents to explore the concept of family values. Links to videos of student presentations are available below: