PUPILS and staff at Belsay First School were hopping with excitement when they marked the start of the Chinese New Year.
The date and its customs and traditions have been taught in individual classes in previous years, but this year the school decided to make it a much bigger event.
Children made decorations, lanterns, hats and animal masks, put together a dragon collage and took part in an oriental music and dance session.
Jill Weatherburn from Premier Foods came in to show them how to make fortune cookies and use chopsticks.
School cook Corinne Hayes made sweet and sour chicken with rice for dinner and exotic fruit salad for dessert.
Each Chinese New Year festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival, which is on the 15th day.
They are represented by 12 animals on a cyclical basis and this time round is ‘The Year of the Rabbit’.
Belsay First School Headteacher Christine Corbett said: “We all really enjoyed the day and we will definitely do something similar next year.
“The activities were a lot of fun and they have also sparked an interest among our pupils about the subject and China in general – now they want to find out how the country itself has developed over the years.
“Our cook made some wonderful food and Jill was first class, hopefully she will be back later in the year.”