A total of 532 incoming first-graders attended a massive school entrance ceremony in Jiangsu, where the children were made to show their gratitude toward their parents and teachers in ways that struck some observers as shameful and old-fashioned.
For their super exciting first day of school at Beicheng Primary School in Nantong, students took part in their First Writing Ceremony, NetEase reports.
The First Writing Ceremony, also called the Qi Meng (Enlightenment) Ceremony, was an important traditional ceremony that every student had to take part in before being admitted to school in ancient China. One of the rituals involves teachers applying vermilion to the students’ foreheads to open their up “wisdom eye.”
While enlightenment may have been one goal, gratitude seems to have been a greater point of emphasis with each student being required to kneel on a mat in front of their parents before jumping up to give them a hug.
Netizens were split in their responses to the event.
One web user from Shanghai commented, “Subtle influences emanate from the teacher onto his students, but I’m afraid that this ceremony is nothing more than formalism.”
“Kids kowtowing to their parents is an ancient Chinese tradition, it is a ‘rational’ show of respect,” commented another netizen praising the ceremony.
“You say ‘rational,’ I say ‘feudal,'” another netizen disagreed.
Whether you think this kind of thing is rational or feudal, silly or meaningful, you must agree that it provides practical training that should serve these kids well in their future careers.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via NetEase]