CHILDREN at schools and nurseries across York, North and East Yorkshire have been celebrating Chinese New Year with a host of activities.

As the Year Of The Horse got under way today, youngsters at Happy Jays Nursery at Clifton Moor were taking part in festivities as part of a week of events which have seen the three and four-year-olds attempting to eat Chinese food with chopsticks and counting to ten in Mandarin.

Pre-school supervisor, Naomi Jones who has been organising the week, said: “It’s gone really well. We have had things going on all week with about 35 children making Chinese lanterns and taking part in all kinds of craft activities as well as making a big model dragon and doing Chinese dancing and drumming.”

At Bootham Junior School pupils were also marking Chinese New Year.

Head teacher Helen Todd said: “Chinese New Year festivities traditionally take place over 15 days so we won’t just be celebrating today. In preparation, the children in nursery and reception have made a dragon, and we learnt a dragon dance.

"Next week, there will be Chinese crafts and music to enjoy as the children learn more about Chinese culture, language and geography. Our chef is even planning a Chinese banquet.”

Time to celebrate

The Year Of The Horse begins today as the Year Of The Snake comes to an end.

There are 12 animals representing the Chinese New Year which is also the beginning of the lunar year and begins on a different year every day.

Celebrations, which include lion dances, gift exchanges and feasting, last for 15 days.

In York, youngsters aged five to 12 will be celebrating the new year on Saturday at Clifton Explore Library with Chinese crafts and stories from 10.30am to 11.30am.