Chartfield pupils celebrate Chinese New Year and explore 12 animals of the zodiac

Chinese New Year celebrations at Chartfield School

Chartfield School in Westgate saw in the Lunar New Year in spectacular style on Monday (January 23), with the entire school tucking into a hot Chinese lunch and witnessing a sensational display by a ‘giant Lion’.

Classrooms were decorated with traditional Chinese iconography and the children experienced a welcome non-uniform day with traditional Chinese dress encouraged. Youngsters from Reception to Year 6 explored the origins of the celebration last week in preparation for Monday’s festivities.

The Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, occurred on Sunday 22nd January and is celebrated across Asia, particularly in countries with a strong Chinese population such as Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. In the twelve-year, twelve-animal cycle, 2023 is the year of the Rabbit.

At lunchtime, the children were treated to appetisers followed by a choice of chicken curry, beef curry or a vegetarian option, topped off with ice cream for dessert.

Following an afternoon exploring the legendary race involving the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig – the all-dancing giant Lion had the children looking on in awe as it paraded around the playground.

Headteacher Cathy Calcutt said: “Chinese New Year is always extremely popular amongst children and staff alike, and in no small part thanks to the generosity of two sets of our parents.

“The Jiang family, who own the Golden Palace restaurant in Westgate, very kindly provided the children with a variety of tasty Chinese foods, whilst Mr Yeung, in addition to his son and our former pupil, generated cheers and squeals of delight from the children with the dancing lion.

“Celebrating Chinese New Year at school not only celebrates the heritage of a number of our children, but also serves to educate our other children about the culture of other ethnic groups that make up, and give so much to, our diverse local community.”

The school, which entered its 95th year this year, has already begun planning for its centenary in 2028, in addition to readying itself for new intakes in April and September.