June 1 is Children’s Day here in China and it’s a really big celebration! China loves to celebrate its youth and many cities will have special events for the big day. Some schools will also host performances and have half days on Children’s Day.
Children’s Day at Kindergarten
This year at the kindergarten we had a big event for Children’s Day. Instead of the children performing, however, it was the parents who practiced and performed for their children! All the parents spent months preparing for the show, working hard on dances, dramas, and songs to make the performance really special for their children.
On the day of the show the children all got a special bag with presents inside – little toys and candy. They would’ve been quite happy with just that I’m sure, then they saw their parents dressed up as Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer, and animals from Zootopia, and they lost their minds.
They even had these giant bears come out and I also lost my mind.
It was a fun day to celebrate with my kids!
Our celebration was the weekend before the actual day, but the children also had a special day on Friday, June 1, the real Children’s Day. First they got dumplings for lunch. (They go nuts of dumplings!) They’re too small to use chopsticks still so they use spoons to eat and hack at the dumplings and it’s so cute.
Then kids got to leave school at 11:45 a.m. The teachers told the kids, “Jintian bu yong shui jiao!” Which means “today you don’t need to sleep!” So they didn’t have to take a nap at school like they normally do everyday. My student Amy was jumping up and down repeating it loudly because she was so excited: “Bu yong shui jiao bu yong shui jiao!”
I also celebrated with classes I teach in the evenings – we played some fun games and the kids got little bags with candy!
Children’s Day Around China
Walking around the streets of China you’ll see lots of big signs and advertisements for Children’s Day, as well as special promotions and exhibits. One mall had a big Minions play area with tons of balloons and toys to buy.
My Chinese friend Sharon and her mom Sarah also invited me to a drama performance by a group that specializes in absurd artistic shows. The theme for the show was Remembering Childhood Memories and Games, and they showcased some traditional Chinese games played by Sharon’s mom’s generation when they were kids.
It was interesting to watch the show and learn about some Chinese cultural things I’d never heard of before, and the show was also really fun because they encouraged audience participation and brought out a giant jump rope for people to play with at one point.
It never ceases to amaze me how big events can get in China. Last year I helped an English school prepare several English drama shows for Children’s Day, and it became a huge production. We made high quality recordings of all the students speaking their lines and coordinated a big dance number for the show ending. The school also rented a really nice big space inside a hotel, along with a professional videographer to document the event.
It’s fun to be a part of events like this with my students, and I’m glad I had the chance to help in a close way this year! Happy Children’s Day!