Chinese migrants brought their own culture and traditions to Australia during the 19th century. One important ceremony was, and still is, the celebration of the Chinese New Year.
- Different cultures celebrate the new year in different ways. Ask students how their family celebrates New Year's Day. Look at the different cultural composition of the class and concentrate on the traditions that the children are familiar with first.
- In pairs, ask students to select another culture and investigate how and when the new year is celebrated in that culture. Ask students the following questions:
- When do they celebrate the change of year?
- Do they have special foods to celebrate?
- What other activities are involved in celebrating the new year?
- The following websites may be useful:
Chinese New Year, http://education2.uvic.ca/Faculty/mroth/438/CHINA/chinese_new_year.html
Wikipedia, 'New Year', http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year
- Ask students to investigate why the dates for Chinese New Year are always changing.
- As an extension activity, students could research the calendars used by the ancient cultures of Egypt, China and South America.
- Divide the class into small groups and allocate a country to each group. Students are to research how each country celebrates the new year. They can present their findings to the class as a slideshow presentation or an interactive presentation.
Student Activity Sheet H14.7: New Year's Day traditions