Japanese culture has many traditions related to New Year’s celebration, in the same way as other cultures. At Canadian Academy, our teachers organize various kinds of activities so that the students can familiarize themselves with multiple aspects of Japanese culture.
Nengajo (New Year’s greeting cards) - it is a tradition that people send postcards to welcome the New Year and send their well wishes to family and friends. Our middle school students competed in the Nengajo contest, where they demonstrated their creativity through designing postcards.
The designs in the photo below won the contest among many beautiful works. As you can see, the animal of the year is commonly illustrated. Our students’ designs also had pictures of Rabbits, combined with popular symbols of the New Year, such as Mt. Fuji, mikan (mandarin), and sea bream.
Mochitsuki (mochi pounding) - mochi, a sticky rice cake, is a typical New Year’s food. In the elementary school, mochi pounding took place, and the students enjoyed an authentic mochi pounding experience with a mallet and rice mortar.
Karuta (matching cards) - karuta is one of the most traditional New Year’s games, where people compete to see how fast they can match cards with different sayings. Some advisory groups from the secondary school played karuta and had a heated battle. Playing this game involved multiple skills: listening, focusing, and being a risk-taker!
Kakizome (first calligraphy of the year) - at the beginning of the year, people present their goals and values through kakizome. Both elementary and secondary students worked on calligraphy and wrote the words of their choice. For some of the students, the calligraphy with a brush and ink was a new experience, which was very exciting as well as complicated. However, they produced great calligraphy works after patiently following example works.
As an international learning community, Canadian Academy profoundly values the opportunities where students can foster their understanding of the host country's culture.