Here in Taiwan, every school has a "birthday" celebration. Contrary to my instincts, this "birthday" does not fall on the same day every year, but instead the administrators pick a seemingly random day in the first semester on which there is normally no school. For my Fulbright ETA colleagues, that was random Saturdays throughout November and December. For me, that was Thursday, January 1st.
The school birthday, also called "sports day," involves the whole student body contributing something in terms of performance or, more commonly, athletic events. From relay races to tug-of-war to potato sack races to cheerleading, there was something there for everyone.
These things are best described in pictures.
To kick it off, the kindergartners did about 15 minutes of repetitive choreography with pom-poms and then parachutes to very, very irritating music. But they are kindergartners, thus, it was adorable:
Then, the boy/girl scouts honored the principal and other administrators with a performance. It started like this:
Why were most kids wearing T-shirts with "FUN" painted on, while some boys stood with black garbage bags? Well, it went from this, to bizarre dance-fighting, and finally turned into an homage to the World Games, playing the ever-present World Games theme song in the background. Watch the video to find out what was under those trash bags:
Then, there were lots and lots of sports competitions. 1st graders with hula hoops, 2nd graders kicking soccer balls around chairs... all the way up to 6th graders trying to throw a Frisbee through a hula hoop. Harder than it looks.
After these "fun" events, the rest of the day was running. Every kid in every class ran a race, and then the fastest in each class formed a relay team, then each grade had a class vs. class relay. Not surprisingly, the baseball/badminton class won in every grade.
Look at these third graders run for their place in the relay:
And the utter domination of the sports class (inner lane), expertly completing the hand-off while everyone else waits:
And like everything else that's good in life, I got a free t-shirt. You'll note in the above pictures that teachers are all wearing light-blue t-shirts. What you can't see is that they have our mascot, a baseball-playing penguin, in the upper corner. Unfortunately you can't see it in this picture either, but Tyler's smile is just too adorable to pass up:
The moral of the story: if you have to work on January 1st, this is probably the best it gets.