Chinese New Year Celebrations at Colyton

On Monday 27 January, the MFL department at Colyton hosted its first ever Chinese New Year celebration, the first of many to come we hope. In the morning, students in Years 7, 8 and 9 attended an assembly presented by our learners of Mandarin. This was followed by a dragon dance which amazed the crowd with its vivid colours and watching the dragon floating and undulating in the air chasing after a ball called the “pearl of wisdom”.

After the assembly, all students from Colyton and our two other visiting school, The Woodroffe School and Clevedon School gathered in the study centre for a fun and fully packed day of activities. In total, we had 100 students present for this celebration and all were able to take part in five workshops: Chinese calligraphy, Chinese Zodiac story, Gong Fu, Chinese craft and Chinese culture. Each workshop was led by a Mandarin speaker (teachers from visiting schools, volunteers and senior students from Colyton). All participants really enjoyed all these activities that were planned for them, whether it was making a Chinese New Year card with Wei Yao from Beanstalks Mandarin kids or having a go at practising writing symbols on “magic paper” with a brush and water with Mrs Choy from Woodroffe.

Following on from the workshops, we were privileged to have Dr Yin Zhiguang, a Senior Lecturer in Chinese at Exeter University giving a truly inspiring lecture about the evolution of the Chinese writing system in history. This enabled students to see what studying Mandarin at university looks like. We were also delighted to have a visiting student in second year of studying Mandarin Chinese at Exeter called Carys Evans who talked about her year abroad studying in Shanghai.

After these thought provoking speeches, students had lunch before doing their afternoon performance. We first watched an amazing dance performance by Elite Dance Team from Clevedon school and then had a series of songs, dialogues and plays presented by each school in Mandarin ending with an act by Mrs Xie from Colyton and her students. A small lucky knot gift was handed to all students as memorabilia of this exciting and intensive cultural learning day.

As if this was already not enough, it was followed by a family event to celebrate the Chinese New Year with our parents, learners and the broader Chinese speaking communities of Colyton Grammar School. This event was hosted in our library thanks to our lovely librarian Mrs Cox and the space was transformed to make it look more Oriental. The art department created an amazing looking Chinese archway and a myriad of Chinese lanterns and “xin nian kuai le” signs adorned the venue. Some of these decorations were kindly donated to us by the Bristol and West of England China Bureau and China-Britain Business Council whilst others were brought in by parents. Parents arrived to the evening celebration with authentic Asian dished to share with all guests, a delight for the eyes and for the taste buds. Finally, one of our Year 12 students, Jasmine F kindly played some Chinese music on her guzheng which was the “icing on the fortune cookie” to make this a true success.

Mr Giraudon, Head of MFL

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