A Short History of Chinese New Year
From a speech delivered by Grade 12 boarder Thompson Wong in Chapel
Also known as the Spring festival, Chinese New Year is the most important of China’s traditional holidays. According to ancient mythology and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started on the first day of the New Year in a village in China where a mythical beast called the Nian would eat livestock, crops and even the villagers (especially the children). It was believed that by putting food in the front of their doors, the Nian wouldn’t attack any more people. Then, one time, the villagers saw that the Nian was scared away by a small child dressed in red. Understanding that the Nian was afraid of the colour red, every time New Years was approaching, the villagers would hang red lanterns and scrolls on their doors and windows. The villagers also used firecrackers to scare away the Nian. From then on the Nian never came to their village again.
Watch Peter Zhao and many other prepare dumplings for a special Brown Hall Dinner and take in some dancing in the Copeland Lecture theatre. These were just two special events happening during the Lunar New Year week at SMUS.
The Junior School students have also been involved in activities to celebrate Chinese New Year this week. Here are some student reflections on the activities.
“The red envelope is one of the classic symbols of Chinese New Year. The envelopes themselves often feature various Chinese characters of long life, prosperity, and good health. During Chinese New Year celebrations, red envelopes filled with money are often given to young children from family members and loved ones to wish them luck and prosperity in the New Year. The colour of red is a symbol of good luck and it is also believed that the colour wards off evil spirits.” – Michael
“We made dragon puppets and we are… we are going to do a dragon dance. What’s special about it is that it is the Year of the Dragon. The dragon shows ‘strongness’ and it scares away bad luck.” – Jenna
“In Grade 1, we found out about Chinese New Year. Mrs. Galloway cut out dragon faces and we coloured them and put ribbons on the back. They turned out well. Mrs. Galloway already made one so we knew what they looked like. I am interested in Chinese New Year – I like dragons!” – Alec