Celebrating the Lunar New Year

Students prepare for and acknowledge the Year of the Rabbit


Photo: Zoe Glass

Decorations for the Lunar New Year are hung outside the door to the Chinese classroom.

As the Lunar New Year approaches, students and teachers begin to prepare for the long holiday. Starting in two days, on January 22 and going to February 5, this year will be the Year of the Rabbit.
Mandarin teacher Irene Yang has students clean the classroom the week before Lunar New Year.
“Sweep the floor, wipe the desks, from inside to outside,” Yang said. “Everything has to be clean. That kind of symbolizes getting rid of the bad luck. We sweep off all of the dust, which is bad luck.”
During the 15-day-long holiday, Yang and her students cook traditional dishes.

“We cook a lot of things and then we share together in the classroom,” Yang said.
One of them being Jiao Zi.
“We wrap one little coin in the dumpling, so whoever is lucky will eat that dumpling with the lucky coin and say, ‘Oh, this is my lucky year.’”
Keylly Garcia Garcia, a seventh grader who takes Chinese B during the Semester, was amazed by how many traditional foods have to do with the holiday.
“It surprised me how the food is eaten,” Garcia said. “Mostly because they sound like other words that mean good luck or wealth.”
Like fish, Yu and chicken, Ji.

“Every year you have fish means every year you have a surplus.” Yang said. “Chicken, Ji, is the same sound as Ji, luck.”
Sixth grader Grace Jin, who celebrates the Lunar New Year at home, has many traditional foods as well.
“I really, really love dumplings,” Jin said. “Especially when we get to be the ones making it ourselves.”
Students in the Chinese classes learn about the Lunar New Year by, “watching videos and taking notes,” Garcia said.
“Learning about it was really great,” Garcia said. “We got to see videos of how other families celebrate.”
Jin enjoys celebrating the New Year with family and friends.
“The community of it,” Jin said. “Being able to experience happiness that I typically wouldn’t on an average day.”
On the fifteenth day, the Lantern festival, many celebrate by eating Tang Yuan and guessing riddles written on Deng Long.
“Everybody waits for it,” Yang said. “Like a grand finale of the Chinese New Year.”

Lunar New Year 2023