Bluffs Advocate

   Natalie Burrows (left) and Alexandra Cheng wish a Happy Chinese New Year from Kew Beach Junior Public School

Wintry Fun in the Beach

Happy Chinese New Year from Kew Beach Junior Public School

By Caitlyn Langille

            On Friday, January 31, Kew Beach Junior Public School (JK-Gr. 6) hosted a skating party at the Kew Garden rink in honour of Chinese New Year. Whole families came out for some fun on the ice at this very well-attended event. Although it was a chilly winter’s night, the giant arena spotlights and excitement in the air made everyone forget about the dark and cold for a while.
           On the ice it was a flurry of colour, from the festive decorations fluttering on the chain-link fence to the rainbow of snowsuit-clad children whizzing around. Snow pants, mittens, jackets, scarves, and the much-protested (but necessary) helmets appeared in a hundred different patterns and colours on the skaters circling the rink. Peals of laughter and squeals of glee filled the night air as the children slipped and slid, racing each other to the ends of the ice.
           First-timers slowly wobbled around, gaining balance from shiny red learning aids as parents kept a close eye. Eager dads raced around picking up the fallen, while encouraging moms gripped the hands of nervous skaters. The doorway to the rink was a traffic jam as masses of eager newcomers joined the fray, colliding with those on their way out. A layer of compact snow covered almost everyone’s knees, but a spill here or there couldn’t dampen the good cheer.
           Hot chocolate circulated, and a fire helped warm up the cold celebrants. Organizer Mary Lynn Trotter relates that the skating party is an annual affair for Kew Beach Junior Public School; this year, however, is the first time they timed it to coincide with Chinese New Year.
           In keeping with Chinese tradition, the tables were covered with red tablecloths. In China, the colour red is associated with joy, virtue, truth, and sincerity, and in Mandarin the word for red is homophonous with “prosperity.” Thus red is an auspicious colour that is commonly used in New Year celebrations to promote good luck in the coming year. Since this is the year of the horse, an ornate horse decoration was strung up by the rink, alongside a paper dragon to ward off evil spirits. The horse is one of the more popular signs in the Chinese zodiac, as it is a very useful animal. In the year of the horse we can expect speedy success and good opportunities for travel. With all of these symbols present, Kew Beach Junior Public School has certainly gotten this year off to a good start.