Back to school in China, as around the world, is rarely something that kids look forward to. Some schools in China are trying to shake up the first day by bringing in celebrities or ancient traditions.
The first day back at school after the summer vacation is often not a joyous occasion for a child wherever in the world he or she is studying. But some Chinese schools tried to liven things up this week with a few novelties.
Traditionally, Sept.1, the first day of the new school year in China, means obligatory attendance at a national flag-raising ceremony in the playground, a run through the national anthem, and a boring speech from the headmaster exhorting his pupils to work harder.
A model student is then generally called up on stage to read a solemn text (edited by a teacher) pledging the student body’s love for country, school, teachers, and classmates, and – of course – its readiness to work harder.
In the southern city of Nanjing, though, one primary school headmaster took 300 first graders to a Confucian temple on Thursday to join in an ancient Chinese ceremony that the anti-Confucian government banned for many years. At the “First Writing Ceremony,” the children, dressed in traditional costume, took up calligraphy brushes to write the Chinese character for “person” before having their foreheads daubed with a red dot, signifying the eye of wisdom.