Did you know that Lunar New Year is celebrated differently in countries across Asia? People in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan celebrate this festival according to their own customs and traditions.
In Japan, it is called Setsubun, also known as ‘節分’, and it is normally held on the 2, 3 or 4 of February every year. Similar to the Chinese legend ‘年’, where villagers chased a monster away with bright lights, red coloured items and loud noises, the Japanese would throw roasted soybeans to drive away the demon, Oni, ‘鬼’.
As Lunar New Year is on 2 February, our Japanese students at Marine Parade celebrated Setsubun last week.
To perform the ritual, the children sang a song, and some of them pretended to be the Oni, while others practised throwing soybeans, Fukumame, at them, shouting “Devils out! Fortune in!” (“Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!”) Traditionally, this is called ‘Mamemaki’ which means to get rid of demons by throwing soybeans at them and bring in good luck for the new year. After the activity, the children brought the demon masks back home and carried out the ritual with their family at home.
This activity is to help our Japanese children to be more in touch with their culture and roots. As part of the curriculum, they get to learn more about Japanese culture and its history during classes by participating in seasonal events and craft-making.
Our bilingual program also includes English and Japanese language classes, music lessons, reading and writing with a multi-sensory IT software, and a KinderFit Cardio-Fitness program. With our comprehensive curriculum, children can learn new knowledge and develop cognitive skills under the guidance of qualified teachers.