Today, we continued the class visits with a trip down to the Lower School. Mrs. Byford’s class first had the opportunity to ask the Chinese students about their culture, lifestyle, and New Year celebration. The children then paired up with what Mrs. Fergusson called “Big Brothers” and “Big Sisters”,  (大哥 Dàgē and 大姐 Dàjiě, respectively) to make lanterns from paper. In talking with he visiting teacher, Rachel Lancaster ‘15 and Claire Golladay ’15 learned that the red lanterns were symbolic of luck in both the new year and in traditional wedding ceremonies, and that the year’s animal is associated with a cyclic calendar that is related to how we think of zodiac signs and horoscopes in Western culture. Essentially, babies born in specific years are said to have personality characteristics specific to the year in which they were born. The year of the sheep, he said, was his year, and it is linked to people with a more introspective, polite, compassionate nature about them.

Some of the children in Mrs. Byford’s class asked what the difference between sheep, goats, and rams were, to which the Chinese students responded that it is all the same animal with respect to the Chinese calendar.