Hallowe’en in Jiaxing

A lot has happened since I last posted, but today was Hallowe’en, so best to get to it before going back in time.  What a great day!  Hallowe’en is not celebrated here like it is at home and very few shops do displays or sell very much of anything related to it, so it was a new experience for our kids and the Chinese teachers we work with.

To begin the day, Geoff and David headed to the market where the vendor had taken Geoff’s order for pumpkins the week prior.   He had no idea why we were buying so many but he was happy to sell them.  Orange pumpkins are not all that common but he had managed to round up 20 this morning, so with those and another 10 or so green pumpkins for good measure, they brought them back to the school.  The price was around $.30 a lb with the total (160 lbs of pumpkin!) just over $50.  Not sure how this compares at home, where I think grocery stores essentially give pumpkins away at this time of year.  Somebody at home, please let me know what you paid.  If you got one for less than $1.50, you did better than us.

The pumpkins are quite a bit different than ours, with very thick, hard shells that make carving difficult but cleaning out easy because there is not a whole lot inside them.  Much smaller than ours, the big challenge was to get a good face on a small surface, but our kids did a great job, especially since they had never done this before.  We had some very inventive and fun ideas!  So wonderful to see the kids working away at them and enjoying themselves.

An additional bonus is that our kids are so polite and helpful; everyone helped with clean-up without a single complaint.

Following the pumpkin carving, we had a hands-free donut-eating event where teams vied to see who could most quickly eat a donut off a string.  Girls and boys both enjoyed this activity; watching and cheering on teammates was as much fun as being the participant!

Eat up, Hope!

Go Shawn Go!

Some of the kids were bent over laughing.  I’m surprised no one from our building complained about the noise level!
After a brief photo shoot, Trick or Treating classroom door to classroom door, and a brief clean-up, we herded the kids into one room and had a special cake, ordered by Geoff, and decorated with an icing pumpkin and ghosts.  Next, we played Hallowe’en Bingo, the game you know but with GHOST as the call letters.  What a wonderful calming activity!  The kids enjoyed it through 5 rounds and were settled so nicely, we decided to forego the Mummy Wrap and end our day.  Within a few minutes, a good number of kids had their heads on the desk, catching a little nap before dinner break.

So that’s Hallowe’en in China.  At home, we might end the day with fireworks, but in China, they are used so often they are ubiquitous and no longer special.  Our day was quite wonderful without them.

Our Class In Their Costumes

(Ed. notes:

#1. We are already looking forward to celebrating Seasonal Break, Winter Vacation, Decemberfest or whatever the politically correct people in Canada now call it – in China they call it Christmas.

#2. This weekend Terry will have time to reflect and regale you with her tales from Suzhou – get ready!!)

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