Chinese New Year – the importance of learning about other cultures and cultural celebrations

Posted on 15th of February 2018

This year, Chinese New Year falls on Friday 16 February 2018.  The year will change from the Year of the Rooster, to the Year of the Dog, which according to tradition, represents luck.  There will be extravagant and wonderful celebrations in London’s China Town on Sunday 18 February 2018, which are now the largest outside Asia, featuring lion dancing, a colourful parade and the best in Chinese food.

Here at Pilgrims, we recognise how important it is for our children to understand and celebrate festivals from around the world as well as from the UK.  From Diwali and Christmas, to Chinese New Year and on to Easter, we embrace the food, clothes and dances of cultures from around the world as part of our creative curriculum.

The learning opportunities this provides are many, from the sights and smells of bright colours and tasty foods to the physical sensation of attempting a new dance or style of movement.  Each festival we celebrate gives us a tremendous sense of the world beyond us and also a huge sense of belonging to each other.

One of our core school values ‘curiosity’ really comes to life at festival time as the children find out about different cultures and traditions.  As our school community comes from a variety of rich backgrounds, the children often have fascinating items to share with their classmates about something that they do at home.  It’s this appetite for learning which we seek to inspire and build upon.

We now encourage our school community to use the half term holiday to enjoy two different festivals which occur in the same week; Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day is on Tuesday 13 February 2018, just a few days before Chinese New Year.  Sharing a meal together is one of the simple, yet important things we can do with our children and trying new foods and taking a moment to talk about why the family is eating something special, can be the springboard for all kinds of conversations and creativity.

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