According to the lunar calendar, the first day of this coming new year falls on February 5. Lunar New Year is celebrated in many Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and the overseas Chinese communities.
This is the most important festival for people living in these places and the Mandarin teacher from Taiwan Ms. Kuei-Mi LI also decided to celebrate with her students in Honiara by organizing some activities for the occasion.
“I want my students here in Solomon Islands can also feel our excitement about the coming of lunar New Year and through these New Year’s activities, they can have a glimpse of our culture and broaden their knowledge of the world,” she said.
Paper-cutting is a very ancient Chinese technique, and for this occasion, Mandarin class students have learned how to cut the Chinese character春(chun) which means spring.
As lunar New Year always comes at the end of winter and the beginning of spring, people like to decorate the house with “chun” to symbolize a fresh beginning.
The local Mandarin class students not only learned how to paper cut “chun”, they also learned how to write it with Chinese calligraphy.
The students received first an intensive calligraphy lesson, learning how to write basic strokes by using brushes and ink and by following some specific writing rules.
“Writing calligraphy demands a lot of patience and concentration, and I was so surprised that these students can sit during 4 to 5 hours practicing this art and the outcome of this practice is also very rewarding,” she said.
Once the students have mastered some basic techniques, they then moved to write “chun” (spring) and “fu” (good fortune) on a square red paper called “doufan”. During lunar New Year, people stick these papers on the center of the door to create a joyful festive atmosphere.
After that the students moved on to practice writing Chunlian (spring scroll), which is a couplet in seven characters. The content is often a poem about aspiration for a peaceful and prosperous year. People hang these chunlian on the two sides of the doorframe during lunar New Year to decorate the house.
Another very important practice during lunar New Year is the distribution of 紅包“hongbao” (red envelop), and this is the most exciting moment for kids because they will receive hongbao with money inside from parents and relatives.
Mandarin class students also receive hongbao with a little souvenir from the teacher. And as this coming year is the year of Pig in Chinese zodiac, so the students have turned the hongbao into a cute origami pig and the whole Mandarin class wants to wish every one 諸事大吉“zhu shi da ji” (very lucky pig year)!