15 Day Festival
(Starting on New Years Day)
These 15 days seem an ideal opportunity to plan a mini project loosely based on the Chinese year. Below are my ideas for covering some of the themes potentially introduced in this celebration.
Surrounding the Hearth.
New Years Eve and New Years Day are times for the family to be together and celebrate family unity. It is a time to honour dead ancestors and and would be a good opportunity to discuss family roots and relationships.
Day 1: Abstaining from eating meat, in honour of the meeting of the gods of heaven and earth. An opportunity to investigate a vegetarian meal and discuss why this belief might have grown up.
Day 2: The Birthday of the Dogs – the Chinese are extra kind to dogs on this day. Why not spend a little extra time with a pet, learn a bit more about it, or do something nice for it like provide a treat or make a new plaything.
Day 3 & 4: Days for Sons-in-law to be good to their parents in law. As well as discussing family ties and/or visiting why not consider why sons are seen as being so important in China.
Day 5: “The fifth day is called Po Woo. On that day people stay home to welcome the God of Wealth. No one visits families and friends on the fifth day because it will bring both parties bad luck” (Chinese New Year) What is wealth? How is it measured? Is an adults wealth different to a child’s? What is REALLY important to make our lives work? (eg money for bills, time together, toys, food, somewhere to live etc)
Day 6-10: Days to visit friends and relatives and pray at temple for fortune and health. Discuss different temples and how people felt they could improve their chances of health by prayer. Look at ways we keep ourselves healthy in the 21st Century.
Day 7: “The seventh day of the New Year is the day for farmers to display their produce. These farmers make a drink from seven types of vegetables to celebrate the occasion. The seventh day is also considered the birthday of human beings. Noodles are eaten to promote longevity and raw fish for success.”(Chinese New YearA trip to the supermarket to look at veg, discussion of organics, a trip to a farm or maybe make a model farm or some playdough vegetables. Older children could consider the birth of humans on the 7th day with a link to the Old Testament Book of Genesis and its description of the birth of the world- are two myths co-inciding in any way? And then of course you can try eating noodles with chopsticks!
Day 9: Offerings to the Jade Emperor. What is Jade?What other precious gemstones can you think of or find examples of? What is an offering?
Day 10-13: Entertaining friends on day 10-12, followed by a simple cleansing food on the 13th day. Tea party time, cooking party food, discussion of different food groups and what is good for us.
Day 14: Preparations for the Lantern Festival.
Day 15: Lantern Festival.
With Thanks. The basis for all these ideas can be found at Chinese New Year. I couldn’t find a contact link to thank them, but hope this acknowledgement will do!