In keeping with our commitment to multiculturalism, the School wanted to join in the Chinese New Year celebrations. The date this year was the 25th of January and it marks the end of the Year of the Pig and welcomes in a New Year of the Rat. In order to celebrate the equivalent of our Christmas Eve (in Chinese, chuxi”) our students were able to enjoy a special lunch menu at School and also made a beautiful plasticine model, representing this important event.
All the children were able to learn a bit more about Asian culture listening to story books and legends. In Primary and Secondary, they also had special activities to mark the day. In Primary they even had a special wish tree, decorated with resolutions and wishes from our students, looking forward to the year ahead.
Chinese New Year or nónglì xīnnián, (“New Agricultural Calendar Year”) is better known in China as the Spring Festival and is the most important festive day in the Chinese calendar. Based on the lunar-solar calendar, traditionally used in China, the celebrations begin on the first day of the lunar month and finish on the fifteenth, with the Day of the Lantern Festival or yuánxiāojié. Over this period, we witness the biggest human migration on the Planet, the “Spring Movement”, with millions of people traveling back to their homes, to celebrate the holiday season with their families. The Year 4717, according to the Chinese calendar starts on the 25th of January, 2020. This calculation goes back to the Year 2697 BC.
In Chinese astrology, the Rat was welcomed in times gone by, as a protector and as a bearer of good fortune. It is the first animal in the 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac which is related to the Chinese calendar. The Rat is associated with intelligence, astuteness, aggression, wealth, charisma and order, but also with, death, war, the occult, pestilence and other atrocities. The rodent remains an animal to be respected in China and also in India. In western culture, on the other hand, calling someone a rat is a negative metaphor to mean “un-earthly”, disgusting and to be despised.