KOTA KINABALU – St Francis Kindergarten celebrated the Lunar New Year for the third consecutive year on its 15th day, or Chap Goh Mei at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Centre here on 22 Feb 2016
Deacon Joshua, in his opening prayer, reminded that the celebration must draw them together closer as a ‘family’.
In his address, chairman of the Board of Governors Dr Damian Lee explained that there are two reasons why the school continues to celebrate Chinese New Year: 1) Mandarin is a subject being taught in the school and with it the understanding of the culture and custom of the Chinese community; and 2) To create a sense of togetherness as a family no matter from which race or religion they (students, parents and teachers) come from.
He also shared the history on how Chinese New Year celebration first began, and the significance of the ‘angpow’ giving, where it is to encourage the young to save money, and to wish them good health and good life.
Simultaneously, Shan Tao Kindergarten also celebrated Chap Goh Mei in the nearby newly built activity zone.
Archbishop John Wong said the opening prayer, while chairman of the Board of Governors Charlie Chia acknowledged that education of the young is a challenging task and expressed his gratefulness to the teaching staff. He further reminded those involved in the education of the very young children that during this auspicious Year of Mercy, to see how in specific ways the mercy and kindness of God be extended to all those whom they deal with everyday, especially the children.
The students, from both schools, came out with dance and song performances. There were colouring contests for students, as well as ‘Guess the weight’ contests for parents.
The highlights of the celebration were of course the dragon, unicorn and lion dances to the thrill of the children and adults alike.
Adhering to traditions, ‘angpows’ were then distributed to the students by members of BOG and guests.
The celebration ended with the tossing of the ‘Lau Sang’, a tradition which, according to Lee, was started in Malaysia. Everyone was invited to join in the tossing of the ‘Lau Sang’ and thereafter to indulge in the delicacies on the buffet tables.
Traditional delicacies such as the colourful glutinous rice balls in syrup ‘Tangyuan’ and the steamed glutinous rice cake ‘Nian Gao’ were also served. – Henry Chua/Catherine Wan