School Leaders' Weekly
Chinese New Year is here once again. Here’s wishing a Happy Chinese New Year to all staff, parents and pupils celebrating this festive occasion! This year, Chinese New Year falls on Saturday, 25 January 2020. We will be celebrating Chinese New Year in school on 24 January 2020.
Chinese New Year is a joyful celebration of family and friends, and for us to appreciate the peace and happiness that we have. In South View, we hope to inculcate in our pupils the values of care and concern by giving them the opportunity to do their part to give back to the community. In the spirit of giving back to the community, the school will celebrate the festive season with our elderly friends from the different elderly homes that we are partnering.
There are many traditions associated with Chinese New Year, such as the annual spring cleaning, decorating homes with items associated with the festival, the reunion dinner where every member of the family returns home to share a meal with loved ones, and the giving and receiving of oranges and ‘hongbaos’ (red packets). With the advent of technology, some families might be turning to video-conferencing during reunion dinners to connect with family members who are far away from Singapore, while others send e-hongbaos to their family and friends online!
We recognise how important it is for our children to understand and celebrate festivals of the different races and religions. We should also welcome our friends from the Malay, Indian, Eurasian and other ethnic groups to join our Chinese New Year celebrations, for this is one of the joys of living in our multi-ethnic community. From Chinese New Year to Hari Raya Puasa, to Deepavali and Christmas, we embrace the different cultures through food, clothes and dances as part of our heritage and the Singapore identity. Each festival we celebrate gives us a tremendous sense of the world beyond us and a sense of belonging to one another. We hope you can explain the purpose and importance of these traditions to the children so that they understand the significance of these traditions and the rich culture of their heritage.
The reunion dinner is an important “event”. Sharing a meal together is one of the simple, yet meaningful family bonding moments which we can partake with our children. Taking a moment to talk about why the family is eating together, can be the springboard for all kinds of conversations and creativity. Whether we have fancy reunion dinners at a restaurant or a simple meal at home, whether we are distributing or receiving hongbaos, what makes it meaningful is that we are doing so with our family and friends. It is a time for reconnecting with relatives and strengthening family ties, of sharing and celebrating together.
Each annual gathering with my relatives for me since young goes beyond just feasting, playing and receiving red packets. Over the years, we have strengthened our relationships through sharing of our personal stories. Although food plays a big part in the celebration, I am reminded again that Chinese New Year is first and foremost about family. It fills me with joy when I see family members both young and old interacting and having conversations when they meet during these festive periods. I look forward to catch up with relatives and friends, especially those we have not seen for a long time, at reunion dinners and home visits. These traditions are part of our heritage and remind us of the truly important things in life. We should do our best to keep such traditions alive. In school, we have reminded the children to make conversations with relatives and friends when they go out visiting.
Do start the tradition of treasuring and valuing family ties when our children are still young. Encourage them to put away their electronic gadgets, get them to see the value and importance of family and encourage interaction and conversations across the different generations. Do also remind your children to show respect and care to others at family gatherings. It is a time to thank our elders for their sacrifices in bringing us up. We should make it a culture to shower love on our own children, and teach them to respect their elders and to reinforce the importance of staying together as one family. We have reminded the children to greet their elders and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when needed.
For my family, we have set the rules when it comes to visiting. We remind the young ones to treasure the time to interact and mingle with one another. It is comforting to see them taking initiative to look out for the elders in the family. Chinese New Year only happens once a year. Old traditions should be treasured and the values of family togetherness must be instilled among the young. The new year indeed signifies respect, filial piety and families coming together.
Beyond the festive celebrations, do make time for family despite our busy work schedules and be readily available for one another in times of need.
Once again, on behalf of the South View family, we wish all staff, parents and pupils a Happy Chinese New Year. We hope that you will be able to spend this time of joy and happiness with your loved ones. For those not celebrating the occasion, do have a good break and spend some quality time with your family and friends.