Dragon Boat Festival and VIPKid

The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that has been celebrated for over 2,000 years in China.

When is it?

The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of the year. That means that the calendar date changes each year.

In 2019, the date falls on June 7, so the festival is celebrated from Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9.

What is it?

The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that has been celebrated for over 2,000 years in China. There are different stories about the history of this holiday. Today, many people in modern China say that the festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a poet and minister during the Zhou Dynasty. He was a member of the royal house, but when the king made an alliance he disapproved of, he was banished for opposing the alliance. During his exile, he wrote poetry, and after 28 years he was captured and committed suicide by drowning himself in the river. Legend says that local people who admired him raced out in their boats to save him, and thus originated the dragon boat races.

Aside from the legend of Qu Yuan, the fifth lunar month is surrounded by superstition, with some people believing that it’s an unlucky month. Some believe that natural disasters or illness are common this month, so during the festival people may do ceremonies to try to avoid bad luck.

As you might expect with a holiday this old, there are many other theories about the origin of the holiday, and how people celebrate will vary based on region and personal preference!

Will I get bookings or cancellations?

While this day is celebrated as a public holiday, some families celebrate and others do not. Some students will book extra classes, and others may cancel if they actively participate in festival events. Often, families who live near rivers have a greater opportunity to celebrate, so if you’re not sure, ask your student if they will be celebrating! As with most holidays, it’s best if you can open up short notice bookings and be as flexible as possible!

What can I do in class to celebrate?

Any time you can bring elements of a festival into your classroom, children and their families will appreciate your efforts! There are a few traditions that are easy to incorporate:

  • Dragon Boats (obviously.) This is a fun and easy thing to incorporate in your reward systems because they are so easily recognized. You could make rewards like:
    • Dragon Boat teacher vs. student race
    • Decorate a dragon boat
  • Zongzi. Zongzi is a rice dumpling. People traditionally wrap these in leaves of reed, lotus or banana in a pyramid shape. They might be filled with any number of sweet or savory fillings. You can incorporate this yummy tradition in your classroom with:
    • Free talk: Ask your student if they made or ate Zongzi.
    • Play Find A Star and they get different fillings or a star when they “bite” into their Zongzi.
  • Superstition. Especially if you teach older, higher-level children, this could be a good opportunity to compare traditions. Ask them to tell you about the special 5-chorded braids that are made to ward off bad luck. Share with them our superstitions about bad luck (black cats and walking under ladders.) Holidays are always a good opportunity to share culture!

What should I do to prepare?

There’s really not too much you need to do to prepare, unless you want to incorporate decorations or rewards into your classroom.  Be flexible, and be open to hearing if your students want to tell you about their own celebrations on this day. Most importantly, have fun!

If you are a current VIPKid teacher, check out this link for the 2019 Dragon Boat Festival workshop schedule and a free printable download from VIPKid!

If you have suggestions of your own, please let me know in the comments, or let me know how this festival has been for you in the past!

If you are just getting started and would like help through the hiring process, please feel free to reach out. I’d love to help you through the application process with VIPKid!

Sources:

TravelChinaGuide.com

Wikipedia

 

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Children’s Day with VIPKid

International Children’s Day is celebrated in China on June 1.

 

When is it?

International Children’s Day is a worldwide holiday celebrated on June 9; however, in China, this special day is celebrated on June 1.

What is it?

According to Wikipidia, when the People’s Republic of China was first established in 1949, the State Council set aside a half-day holiday on June first for all primary schools to celebrate International Children’s Day. In 1956, this was expanded to a full day holiday. Schools often hold special programs or host activities on Children’s Day. Young children of civil servants might receive small gifts from the government, and civil servants  may be given time off to spend with their young children.

Will I get bookings or cancellations?

Yes, maybe. I know, that’s a terrible answer. And I should preface this by saying I have never had personal experience teaching on Children’s Day. But I’ve read a lot about it and looked for other people’s experience. And like any holiday, every Chinese momma and daddy will be different. Some will look at the extra day off of school as a prime opportunity to add classes. Others will forget that they’ve scheduled Bao Bao for their school program and they’ll have to cancel. Some will use the long weekend to do a marathon of classes while others will decide to take a mini-vacation. We are all human, and so are your students and their families. The general consensus I’ve seen from social media is that bookings don’t dramatically decline. That said, if you plan to teach on Children’s Day, it’s best if you can open up short notice bookings and be as flexible as possible!

What can I do in class to celebrate?

  • Plan free-talk around the holiday. Examples of questions might include:
    • Did you go to school today?
    • Did you have any special activities?
    • Did you do any special performances or acts?
    • Did you receive any gifts?
    • What did you do for Children’s Day?
    • What did you eat?
  • Make Children’s Day decorations
    • Banner or sign
    • Confetti (if you are brave enough to clean up the mess!)
    • Streamers
  • Use special rewards for Children’s Day: Like most rewards, if you are excited by them, your students will be too. To get you started, I put together an idea for a printable at the end of this post, but have fun! Anything special, different, and fun will be enjoyed by your students! Try:
    • Blowing up a balloon each time you award a star
    • Using party horns
    • Giving “gifts” in gift bags with noisy tissue paper
    • Putting on a “play” one line for each reward
    • Stars with your student’s picture on them

What should I do to prepare?

  • Send e-cards, if you wish. There are several free e-cards, and your students will appreciate a quick personal note to say “Happy Children’s Day! Thank you for being a great student!” Update: VIPKid just announced that they have a free children’s day e-card available!

ecard

  • Remember that your students probably have a busy, exciting day planned, so be prepared for anything. You may have hyper, tired, or just very happy students. Be ready to adjust!
  • Have fun! We have the unique opportunity to celebrate this special day with our students, so enjoy it.

If you have suggestions of your own, please let me know in the comments, or let me know how your Children’s Day goes!

If you are just getting started and would like help through the hiring process, please feel free to reach out. I’d love to help you through the application process with VIPKid!

Here are a few printable ideas to build a Children’s Day reward. All graphics are from PNG Tree.