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Norwich School Blog

Chinese New Year by Jeffrey Chung and Erica Zhang

Norwich School pupils Jeffrey Chung and Erica Zhang created a video which explains some traditional customs around Chinese New Year.

We caught up with Jeffrey and Erica to learn something new about Chinese New Year.

Could you expand on why the red papers bring good fortune if put above the doors in China?

Red is the color that nian monster is scared of so thats why its dyed red. Good fortune comes from the words on the paper which are like charms which wishes the family good fortune. Tradition to put red couplets on the doors is because it is where the nian monster can see it so we continue to stick them on the doors

When you hear fire crackers, do people light these in the street or in their gardens? Are these allowed in public places?

Most chinese people live in apartments nowadays so they head to the streets to light them up. However, in old ages firecrackers are lit in the "times square" of the village so everyone can see it. Firecrackers can be lit anywhere, but during chinese new year only.

The animated video that is included, do Chinese people watch these animations often?

These stories are for kids, so we learnt it in pre-school. It's like Chinese santa clause stories. 

Do parents and grandparents discuss ancient myths a lot at home?

We talk about religions more often than myths at home. We do discuss about myths in school quite often at a young age.

What is your favourite food out of the ones listed in the video and why? Have you managed to find them here in England?

Erica: I like dumplings because its shape represents family gathering. In fact, there are surprisingly a lot of shops that sell dumplings here in England. We could always find some in Asian supermarkets or in Chinese restaurants.

Jeffrey: TangYuan is my favourite food. Its basically a little dough with sugar in it and you boil them up in some sweet ginger soup. They are deserts for the day before lunar new year which is the equivalent of thanksgiving.

Why does the food mean certain things?

The names we call the foods sound similar to the blessings in chinese. For example, Fish symbolizes increase of prosperity in the family. Some foods are symbolized from the shapes of the food as well. Tangyuan has a circle shape which means all family comes around and have a nice gathering. 

Is it rude to not accept food offered to you in China?

Depends, etiquette is similar to western cultures.