Thursday, April 2, 2009


  • Tomorrow is Tomb Sweeping Day in China. It is a day where the Chinese go to visit the graves of their ancestors - a day to honour them, as it were. I asked the students if they celebrated the day but, they quickly jumped on me for my choice of words. I quickly apologized for the gaffe. But I wonder if maybe celebrate is not such a bad word to use after all. I may well be trying to justify myself but, I believe there is something to be said for the idea that by honoring or remembering our ancestors, we celebrate their lives and their contributions to ours which have never stopped.
  • I know about my ancestors four generations back (this is counting Tony as the current generation). I remember meeting three of my grandparents. I remember seeing a picture of great grandparents on my father's side. My father's father I like to joke manage to choose the wrong side in both world wars. Being Latvian, we were put down by all our neighbors. In the twentieth century, we had to worry about the Germans and the Russians. So, in the first war my grandfather fought for Russians. In the second, he fought for the Germans. Bad choices either way.
  • I will be asking the students about their ancestors tonight. In fact, that is the topic of tonight's English Corner.
  • The Chinese word for Easter is fu(4) huo(2) Jie(2). Translated literrally, fuhuojie means Repeat Life Festival. Explaining to the students that Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ helps them to make a connection in their brain. One student, I had today, couldn't understand what the bunny and chocolate egg festival was called what it was in Chinese.

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