Tianmei Yang Seet of Los Alamos makes a ZongZi as a demonstration for her Chinese class. Courtesy image
Why did a Chinese king banish his minister and poet 400 years before Christ? Why did loyal supporters of the poet throw rice balls into the Milou river? Why do people all over the world today row in fearsome looking Dragon Boats?
The Dragon Boat Festival just passed May 30, and to celebrate the event and answer some of the above questions Tianmei Yang Seet of Los Alamos taught her inaugural class in Mandarin Chinese to six enthusiastic children from Los Alamos and White Rock.
Seet is holding small-group Chinese classes for children grades K-6. These are 2-hour sessions: learning through songs, cooking, art and stories. From these unique experiences they will understand useful phrases and cultural features. Summer classes are 3:30-5:30 p.m. Sundays. Fall classes are 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
During the class, Seet tells the story of poet and minister 屈原 (Qū Yuán) and 端午节 or Dragon Boat Festival and shows students how to make 粽子 (ZongZi), a sticky rice ball steamed in a bamboo wrapper. Six children were highly engaged, learning to speak basic Chinese and about traditions such as perfume pouches and dragon boat racing. Everyone got to enjoy eating their ZongZi after class, with sugar on top, a yummy way to end the first class.
Watch the class and see how to make a sticky rice ball at TMChinese.com. Seet is enrolling students K-6th for weekly sessions for the rest of summer and also after-school sessions in the Fall. To enroll or ask questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.