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Ni Hao from China
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Ni hao from CHINA

There are a number of global partners from China, for instance, one is from Chengdu City, Sichuan Province in southwest China, two are from Shaoguan City in South China, one is from Hangzhou City, East China and another is from Ningbo, a port city in East China. John Wu, runs workshops for the teachers in Guangzhou.

Emails from China

In one of his first emails John wrote "September 10th is Chinese Teacher's Day and this year September 11th is our Chinese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. Mooncakes are the popular snacks". Ann, another of the partners also wrote about the Mid-Autumn Festival and promised to tell us more about Chinese festivals and legends.

17 September - Emails from Ann

I read your emails to my pupils. They are very excited and interested. ... Now let me tell you about a special place in China. It's Confucius Temple. Last week we visited there. Located in the center of the old city of Qufu, the Confucius Temple used to be a place for making sacrifices to Confucius, the philosopher and educator. The temple is now a historic site under special protection by the government."

AnnHave you been to Beijing the capital of China? Tian'anmen Square is in Beijing. It is one of the largest city center squares in the world. It is truly the heart of Beijing. People all over China dream of having the chance one day to visit the capital city and famous square.

Tian'anmen Square (English name Gate of Heavenly Peace) actually gets its name from the huge gate that stands on the north side of the square. Tian'anmen was built in 1417 and served as the entrance gate to the Imperial Palace named the Forbidden City.

In the past, every traditional Chinese home had a small courtyard in front of the main building. Of course, the courtyard of the royal family had to be much larger, but the actual dimensions of the square have gone through a succession of changes over years. Tian'anmen does not only possess political importance but is also a place to relax for average citizens flying kites and walking and talking.

25 September - Email from Ann

You know we'll celebrate our New Year in four months. The Spring Festival, also known as the Lunar New Year, is the greatest traditional festival. It is usually a time between late January or early February, which means rest and relaxation between winter and spring after a year's toil, and means celebration as well. Before the Spring Festival, people clean their houses, put red couplets on their gates, and set off firecrackers (according to fairy tale, for driving a demon, named Nian, away). On the eve of the Spring Festival, a get-together banquet is a must, and the most popular food is Jiaozi, which is supposed to bring good fortune. On the first day of the New year, everybody wears new clothes and greets relatives and friends with bows and congratulations wishing each other the best during the New Year.

Iron Lion1 - October Extract from an email from Ann's son

Today is National Day and I have dinner in my grandma's house. Tomorrow I and my father are going to Iron Lion to have a picnic. It was built in 953. Its body is 535 cm tall, its head is 170 cm tall and body is 630 cm long. It's 40000 kg. It is very big.

1 October - Extract from Lilian's email

The People's Republic of China was founded on Oct 1, 1949. Today is our National Day. It's one of the most important festivals in China. We have seven days no school. Some of us will travel with their families, some will visit their kinfolks, some will play with their friends. There isn't any special food in this festival. It's a holiday for fun! We can do anything we like!

3 October - Extract from an email from Ann

I went to Tianyun Mountain in He Nan province for our National Day. It's in the east of China. There I visited Xiaozhai Ditch, Laotan Ditch and Wenpan Valley. The view is very beautiful. It's a marvel of natural beauty so I can't help sharing with you. I introduce the Xiaozhai Ditch to you first.

Waterfall Xiaozhai Ditch is told to be a place where Liu Wuzhou, a peasant uprising hero at the end of the Sui Dynasty, and Li Shimin, the first founder of Tang dynasty, pitched camps with a length of about 2 kilometers. High mountains stand opposite each other, and there is a gorge between them. On the bottom of the gorge stand great rocks and flow tiny streams. It is known as Tan Pu Chuan because there is a spring every three steps, a waterfall every five steps and a pond every ten steps. It is also called Changchun Ditch for it is warm in winter and spring and cool in summer and autumn. The most magnificent is Yaputan, where there is a waterfall with a height of over 20 meters shaping like "Y". At the bottom is a pond, which is full of green water and covers an area of more than one hundred square meters. Around the pond is a vast piece of open land where tourists can take a rest. Other water landscapes include Water Curtain Cave, Fengwei Chained Pearls, White Snake Exiting Cave, Divine Tortoise Vomiting Pearls, and Black Dragon Spraying Mist. The end of the ditch lies among bold cliffs, where you are sure to feel like sitting in well when looking up at the vault of heaven.

21 October - Extract from an email from Ann

flowersLaotan Ditch, in Yuntai Mountain, is said to be an asylum where the Dragon King of the Heavenly River stayed after being banished because he violated the order of the Jade Emperor, the Supreme Deity of Taoism (he wilfully released rainfall to alleviate the suffering of ordinary people in north Henan caused by drought). With a length of about 3km, high peaks stand abruptly on both sides of the ditch, which are magnificent. Groups of hills constitute a picturesque screen in the ditch. Flowers and plants are as beautiful as brocade in the mountains. Clear streams flow like clouds underfoot. Rare rocks, mountain springs, fragrant flowers and waterfalls constitute a piece of symphony in the ditch. At the end of the ditch is Yuntai Heavenly Waterfall, the highest waterfall in the country, with a drop of 314m. Viewed from afar, it looks just like a jade column supporting the sky. It roars like a thunderbolt, looking splendid.

28 October - Email from Ann

I want to introduce another traditional Chinese festival. We call it the Lantern Festival and it's on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month every year. On that day, various types of lanterns are exhibited, fireworks set off, and acrobatics and dances displayed. Traditionally, Yuanxiao is eaten on the night of the Lantern Festival, because it symbolizes family unity and happiness. Yuanxiao is a dough stuffed with sweet stuffings such as sugar and bean paste. Therefore, the Lantern Festival is also called the Yuanxiao Festival.

Ni hao from CHINA

4 November - Email from Ann

Do you know the Twelve Animal Signs in China? Or we can call it the Chinese Zodiac. You might know that many Chinese people strongly believe that the time of a person's birth is the primary factor in determining that person's characteristics. It is essential in China that every person knows which animal sign he is born under and most of Chinese truly believe in the signs.

dragonLegend says Buddha invited all the animals to his kingdom, but only 12 came: rat was the first, then ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Buddha named the year after the animals in the order of arrival.

Emails from Ann

My children and I had two hard weeks. ... We took our exam the day before yesterday. They have a rest these two days. They will come back to school tomorrow and then we will have a holiday to celebrate our Spring Festival, the most important festival in China. We will come back to school on February 7.

Today I found an article about red packet, a special thing in Chinese New Year... At New Year, children and young people are given money in red envelopes. This is known as Lai Si or Hung Bao. "The symbolic giving of the money represents a wish for wealth in the new year".

Email from Lilian about the Spring Festival

I began to enjoy my holiday yesterday. I cleaned my bedroom and made it in perfect order. We always have the general house-cleaning before Spring Festival. We clean everything in the house in order to get rid of the ill-fortune. I must work hard for several days. Many Chinese pay for cleaning now. But I love to do it myself. I think itís a good chance to show my love and I enjoy the cleaning with my family. We talk and sing when we are cleaning.

Email from John about the Lantern Festival

Here is an introduction to the Lantern Festival we celebrated on February 5th this year. "The Lantern Festival (also called Yuanxiao Festival) is on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month. It is closely related to the Spring Festival. ... One legend tells us that it was a time to worship Taiyi, the God of Heaven in ancient times. ... Another legend associates the Lantern Festival with Taoism. ... A third legend is connected with Buddhism - followers believe that the power of Buddha can dispel darkness."

Email from Pauline about Women's Day

Pauline with her class
From your e-mails, I know a lot of your festivals. I will introduce our festivals to you too. Each year March the 8th is our Women's Day. On that day our women will celebrate. Some of them go out to travel. Some of them go to have a big meal and a party. Our school will organize our teachers to go to travel this year. The happy day is coming. Hope we can have a nice day.


Email from Lilian about Parents' Evening

... the parents were very interested in the information [about the global communication project] and they were thankful that your children love to make friends with theirs and help them to know more about the world.

Email from Lilian about the Ching Ming Festival

burial items from Julie Murphy (watch, pen, money, gold, feng shui mirror ...) Tomorrow is Chinese Ching Ming Festival. Ching Ming is a Chinese rite marking the beginning of spring that is focused on ancestor worship. On this day, people visit gravesites and make offerings to the souls of their deceased relatives. In English, we call it a Ching Ming Festival, Grave-Sweeping Day, Clear and Bright Festival. Ching Ming is held on the 106th day after winter solstice, and usually occurs on April 4 or 5.

On Ching Ming, celebrants traditionally visit ancestral graves, where special rites are held and offerings are made in honor of ancestors. This event occurs in the spring; Chung Yung is a counterpart observance in the fall. Such events are related to the Chinese tradition of receiving blessings from previous generations when undertaking a new venture.

Ching Ming rituals not only include weeding of the area, cleaning of the headstone, and replacing the wilted flowers with fresh ones, but also the lighting of incense and burning of imitation paper money. The burning of the imitation money is for the deceased to use in the afterlife. In addition, food is laid out in front of the headstone as an offering to the spirits of the deceased. The food may include a steamed whole chicken (including the head, which is later twisted off), hard boiled eggs cut in half lengthwise with shell attached, sliced barbecued pork (cha shiu), cut roast pork with crunchy skin attached, and dim sum pastries. In addition, three sets of chopsticks and three Chinese wine cups are arranged above the food and closest to the headstone.

The head of the household usually begins by bowing three times with the wine cup in hand, then pouring the wine on the ground just in front of the headstone. This procedure is usually repeated three times. Each member of the family comes in front of the headstone and bows three times with the right fist held cupped in the left hand. Some families will then eat the food together there at the gravesite, similar to having a picnic with their deceased relatives. It is said to bring good luck to eat the food that was offered to the deceased. It is considered a time for happy communion with ancestors rather than a somber occasion. YOU are our good friends. I think our ancestors will bless you, too!!

Email from Pauline about Labour Day

I want to tell you about a holiday in China that is the Labour's Day. The date is on May 1st each year. We have 7 days off to rest. Nowadays a lot of people travel. Do you have that kind of holiday in your country?

Emails from Ann

Here it's spring now, the weather is warm and windy (April). I like wearing Chinese traditional dress. Qi Pao is the classic dress for Chinese women. The high-necked, closed-collar Qipao/Cheongsam, with a loose chest, fitting waist, and slits, is one of the most versatile costumes in the world. Have you heard of it?

BeijingI've come back from Beijing (May). ... do you know the Summer Palace? Yi He Yuan is the best-kept existing royal garden in Beijing. ... with ancient buildings and styles of gardening. The Summer Palace first named the Garden of Clear Ripples, was burnt down by the allied forces of Great Britain and France in 1860. Rebuilding started 25 years later and was completed in 1895.

... The fifth day in May of lunar calendar was the Dragon Boat Festival. People celebrated the festival with Zongzi (sticky rice dumplings). My mother-in-law made many kinds of Zongzi for us. They are very delicious.

Email from John about Children's Day

June 1st is the Children's Day in China. We will have one day off. Many activities for children will be celebrated in all the cities around China.

School terms and holidays in China

Every year we have two terms and every term is about twenty weeks long. We have the Winter Holiday about four weeks long for our Spring Festival and the Summer Holiday about seven weeks long for the end of one school year and the summer. The Winter Holiday usually occurs on January or February and the Summer Holiday usually occurs on July and August. We always begin our new school year on September 1.

Winter Vacation in China, John

Amy's pupils, Chengdu - Morning Exercise All the schools on Mainland China will start our winter vacation for about 3 or 4 weeks. Our partner teacher from East China, Pauline told me that she will give birth to a child in August 2005. You know in China we have one child family policy, so let's express our sincere expectation to see her child come into our new world peacefully with so many people from the globe to dream together.


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