LUNAR NEW YEAR
GH Students Celebrate the Lunar New Year
The Year of the Rat
Glen Head students under the leadership of their Mandarin teacher, Ms. Jingwen Cai, recently celebrated the Lunar New Year by playing musical instruments, singing, wearing dragon costumes, making Mandarin art, and joining in parades in their classrooms to signify the beginning of this joyous occasion. 2020 is the year of the Rat 鼠, representing optimism, cheer, and strong vitality in culture. In addition, the Chinese New Year is known as the “Spring Festival” and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia.
Although there are many interesting legends and stories regarding the origin of the Chinese New Year festival, there are traditionally two main reasons why many Chinese people celebrate. The first is to commemorate a year of hard work by rejoicing and relaxing with family and friends. The New Year Eve’s dinner is called the “reunion dinner” and it is believed to be the most important dinner where generations and generations of family members get together usually at round tables to eat, enjoy delicious food, and spend important time together. The second main reason to celebrate is to wish for luck and prosperity in the upcoming year. It is believed that “a good start to the New Year will lead to a lucky year.” Often red envelopes are passed to children or relatives containing gifts and money.
The Chinese New Year festival is many centuries old and is celebrated in many countries and territories around the world including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In North Shore Elementary Schools, Mandarin begins early. Younger students begin singing in Mandarin and learning the characters. As they progress, they learn more about the language, China’s geography and history, and the symbolism of the Chinese New Year by researching many facts about China. During the Chinese festival, the students parade up and down the aisles of the school and go into classrooms dressed as a snake and play instruments welcoming in the Chinese New Year. As a bonus this year, Sea Cliff musicians along with their band teacher, Mr. Richard Blake, accompanied the parade by playing joyous music! Bravo to all!
Article by Shelly Newman Photos submitted by Dr. Rufa