February is a month of celebration in Chinese class: It's Chinese New Year!
Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival (春节 chun jie). It is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. We celebrate the new year and welcome the spring. For Chinese people, Chinese New Year is the most important time of the year: we reunite with our families, we clean and decorate our houses with the lucky color red and fresh flowers, we wear new clothes, and we visit friends and wish each other a prosperous new year.
In Chinese class, we celebrate this special festival by making dumplings together. This is the tradition in northern China. The shape of dumplings symbolizes the Chinese gold ingot, and the making of dumplings brings everyone together. Aidan's students love to make dumplings.
The dumplings are not just delicious, but the hard work of completing each lesson is also wrapped in the preparation:
- First lesson: we learned the vocabulary of vegetables. Everyone is responsible for making vegetable pictures. We are each the "farmer," and it's very important to make our produce look real and appealing. We learned to recognize the different shape of some common vegetables.
- Second lesson: we make paper money. We learned about Chinese currency. We worked on different worksheets to practice addition, subtraction, and converting currency between the Chinese yuan and US dollar. We prepared to deal in the market.
- Third lesson: we learned to buy and sell in a traditional market in China. We used important sentences to negotiate in the market. How do you buy carrots for a lower price and sell them at a higher price? What kind of experience is more important to you - to keep a good relationship with your customers or to earn as much as you can?
- Forth lesson: Writing calligraphy on red paper. We like to welcome Spring (春) and wish good fortune（福） by writing these messages and decorating the house with them.
- Fifth (and most anticipated) lesson: making dumplings. We touched and smelled in order to learn the ingredients, and we washed and chopped them while learning how to use knives and food processors. Some of us are probably not the biggest fans of vegetable dumplings, but we love our dumplings because we worked very hard to make them. We earned it!
After eating the dumplings, I gave everyone a red envelope with a coin in it to wish them happy and healthy year.
Aidan's Chinese classes wish you all a Happy Year of the Dog! 新年好，狗年快乐! Please enjoy the photos below, all taken by student Hayes Cooper.