Have you and your students already forgotten your New Year's resolutions? Lost the spirit of anticipation that the New Year brings? This week, Education World brings you another chance for a new beginning. It's time to celebrate...the Year of the Snake!
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Horse begins on January 31, 2014. The Web sites below will help you introduce your students to the legends, superstitions, and traditions surrounding the 15-day New Year celebration -- enhancing their understanding of other cultures and ancient beliefs.
Begin your exploration of the New Year at Chinese New Year by Haiwang Yuan. Though it lacks colorful graphics or lists of links, this site provides a basic, clearly written, insider's introduction to New Year celebrations and superstitions. Sections include:
Students also might be interested in learning about the symbolism of the animals in the Zodiac.
For information on more of the traditional beliefs that influence Chinese New Year celebrations, visit Chinese New Year, from the University of Victoria (British Columbia) Faculty of Education. Though it doesn't include the ancient legends, this site does provide easy-to-read information about the significance of many holiday traditions. Sections include:
Once students understand how and why the Chinese New Year is celebrated, they might want to become personally involved in the celebrations by engaging in classroom activities related to the event. With older students, you might begin by using a lesson plan on the Chinese lunar calendar.
Younger students will enjoy making a Chinese New Year Dragon Mask. They can wear it to play Chase the Dragon's Tail, a traditional Chinese children's game.
You might also invite students of all ages to visit Chinese New Year, from Scotland Online. This site provides a brief description of New Year celebrations and includes several quick activities your students will learn from and enjoy. Here, they can welcome the New Year by creating a New Year's email greeting, crack open a "Virtual Fortune Cookie," study the Chinese calendar and discover their sign, or send Chinese New Year wishes as electronic greeting cards.
Article by Linda Starr
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