AS the Chinese New Year of the Horse approaches, pupils at Conifers Preparatory School in Midhurst are getting ready to celebrate, and will be using their best Mandarin Chinese especially for the occasion.
Boys and girls from around the school have been learning the language for a term and teachers are delighted with the fantastic progress they are making.
Conifers’ headteacher, Emma Smyth, believes Mandarin Chinese is a language of the future and could be of great benefit to the school’s pupils.
“With more than a quarter of the world’s population speaking it in China alone, Mandarin has to be one of the most important modern foreign languages to learn,” she said.
“Traditional Chinese New Year greetings include ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ and ‘Wan Shi Ru Yi’, which translate as ‘congratulations and be prosperous’ and ‘may everything go as you will it to.’
“So the staff and pupils of Conifers School wish Gong Xi Fa Cai to everyone and Wan Shi Ru Yi!”
Children learnt about the varying tones in the language and the different traditions followed in China to herald in the new year, including noisy firework displays and the presentation of ‘hong bao’ (red packets containing money).
Usually the elder generation give the ‘hong bao’ to the younger generation and tradition has it this will bring luck and ward off evil spirits.