Our Mandarin program, led by the indomitable Sally Li, is designed to introduce children to the Chinese language and to inspire a lifelong interest in the culture of China. Yesterday, our student body had an opportunity to rejoice in the pageantry and color of the Lunar New Year celebrations as we welcomed the Year of the Tiger here on campus.
Celebrated in China and other Asian countries, the Lunar New Year begins on the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon, 15 days later. Each year in the lunar calendar is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals; this year is the tiger!
Different cultures observe and celebrate the Lunar New Year in different ways; here at MWS, our Lunar New Year celebrations began with a short assembly, in which grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 performed songs in Mandarin, led by Li Lǎoshī. All the children performed beautifully. most dressed in red, as is traditional for the Lunar New Year. Among the highlights was a traditional Chinese song about homesickness that our 5th graders sang, accompanied by Ms. Mallard and student Ryder on guitar.
After the student performances, we enjoyed a huge treat when lion dancers took over the amphitheater with banging drums and colorful dancing. The most memorable moment may have been when the red lion danced and pranced through each row of the amphitheater, eliciting laughter and delighted squeals from kindergartners to 7th and 8th graders! Their stunning show concluded with the pop of firecrackers, which are traditionally used in Lunar New Year celebrations as a way scare off evil spirits.
Following the assembly, students in grades 1-8 gathered in the shade of the oak grove to try traditional Chinese snacks, like fried bean paste and sugar-coated roast peanuts. A sweet end to a wonderful event!