The Dragon Who Cried is an ancient story from China, the world’s oldest civilization. China’s recorded history begins 4,000 years ago with the Shang dynasty. Following Emperors increased China’s size and power, until it reached its greatest under the Manchu (Quing) dynasty two hundred years ago. China was one of the world most advanced nations for 3,000 years, until the 19th Century when they fell behind the modern technology of Europe. The Communist People’s Republic was founded by Mao Zedong in 1949. Under Chairman Mao China became industrialised and a nuclear power, but his strict rule also created the disasters the 1950’s Great Leap Forward and the 1960’s Cultural Revolution, in which millions of Chinese people died. Covering a vast area of Eastern Asia, China is bordered by 14 countries, including: Viet-nam, Laos, India, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Russia and Pakistan. Yuan Tan – Chinese New Year This is the most important Chinese festival. It begins on the 23 rd day of the 12th moon when the Kitchen God, who has been watching over the family through the year, ascends up to Heaven to report on each member of the family. New Year’s day is on the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar and each new year is named after one of 12 traditional animals. It is a family festival and a time for visiting friends and relations. Houses are often decorated with a special tree, called moyeefa, which is covered in blossom and symbolises a fresh beginning. Lanterns, sweets and paper decorations will be placed all over house. Gold decorations symbolise wealth and red symbolise good luck. Fire-crackers are let off to frighten away the Nia - a legendary beast. Visitors never arrive empty handed. A traditional exchange of two mandarin oranges takes place as greeting are made. Small gifts of tea may also be taken. Sometimes a special New Years cake is made as a gift. This is decorated with green leaves around the outside and some form of red paper decoration on the top. It is during this festival that the Lion and Dragon dances take place and gifts of lettuce and money are made as the dancers wend their way around the streets calling on the houses. The money collected is used to help those in need in the community. See how many of these questions you can answer about China. How old is Chinese civilisation? What is the name of the Emperor during the first dynasty? Who founded The Communist People’s Republic? And when? How many countries border with China? Can you name five of these countries? Which God watches over Chinese families through the year? When is Chinese New Years day? What is the name of the special tree, which decorate houses over Chinese New Year? What does the tree’s blossom represent? Why do the Chinese let off fire-crackers over New Year? Can you remember two traditional gifts? All decorations and gift must include gold and red. What do these two colours represent? Which two beasts do people dress as to dance during the festival?