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The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper

Roaring into the New Year: CCHS’s Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year Celebration

Poster for the Lunar New Year Celebration, featuring student dragon artworks.

Concord-Carlisle High School, Concord Middle School, and Carlisle Middle School co-hosted a vibrant Lunar New Year celebration on February 10 to welcome the year of the dragon, igniting the school with cultural spirit. Organized by Ms. Han of CCHS, Ms. Huang of CPS, and Ms. Cheng of CMS, the Lunar New Year celebration serves as a shining example of our school’s dedication to embracing cultural diversity and inclusivity within our community. The event, which brought together students, faculty, and community members, showcased the rich traditions of the Lunar New Year, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended.

Volunteers handing out food. Photo Courtesy of Ms. Han.

Lunar New Year is celebrated all across Asia, with each country adding its own twist to the celebrations. It usually kicks off between late January and mid-February (this year it was February 10), bringing heaps of joy and lively festivities. Picture families coming together for reunions, indulging in mouthwatering foods, and exchanging red envelopes filled with money and luck. Imagine streets bustling with colorful dragon dances, dazzling fireworks, and parades, all announcing a fresh start filled with blessings and wealth! Additionally, this year is the year of the dragon, which is characterized by good fortune.

In a joint letter crafted by the three teacher organizers, they say, “This event is not only significant for students from Kindergarten to 12th grade who are currently enrolled in Mandarin Chinese classes, providing them with authentic learning experiences, but also holds immense value for our students and families, fostering a sense of community, unity, and understanding among diverse cultures.” They add, “We believe that this Lunar New Year celebration will not only be a source of joy and cultural enrichment but also a means of strengthening the bonds within our community.” Through festive decorations, homemade dishes, traditional performances, and fun cultural activities, attendees were immersed in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Lunar New Year.

Students and parents played a pivotal role in helping in the Lunar New Year celebration, gifting the event with their unique talents. Volunteers contributed in numerous ways, including decorating the cafeteria, bringing and serving authentic food, and performing traditional dances and music on stage. In terms of decoration, Ms. Han says, “Our gallery [along the cafeteria windows was] created by CCHS Chinese class students [and] presented the details of the cultural artifacts in the event, such as the Asian countries celebrating the Lunar New Year, different types of chopsticks from Chinese, Korean, and Japanese culture, traditional Chinese instrument study, Chinese calligraphy study, major Chinese cuisine systems study, and Chinese Yo-Yo study.” Volunteers’ passion and excitement for sharing their cultural roots added depth to the celebration, leaving attendees in awe.

A decorative poster about the celebration of Lunar New Year across different cultures. Photo Courtesy of Ms. Han.
Volunteers helping to set up for the celebration.
Ms. Han and parent volunteers. Photo Courtesy of Ms. Han.

No Lunar New Year celebration would be complete without delicious authentic food. Many families were kind enough to bring in Asian food from many different countries and regions, providing attendees with a mouthwatering array of traditional cuisines. Some examples of foods included fried rice, Chinese rice cake, noodles, Vietnamese spring rolls, Japanese fried chicken, Korean BBQ chicken, and boba. Ms. Han emphasizes, “Even the food was structured with a cultural comparison concept in that we presented a variety of products from different cultures,” such as spring rolls from both Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines. There were also live demos, such as a dumpling-making station, where volunteers taught attendees how to wrap dumplings. The dumplings were then steamed and relished. Yum!

The dumpling-making station. Photo Courtesy of Ms. Han.
Korean dumpling demo. Photo Courtesy of Ms. Han.

Attendees of the Lunar New Year celebration were treated to a myriad of enjoyable activities in addition to the food. Workshops gave attendees valuable insights into the cultural significance and symbolism behind Lunar New Year traditions. Ms. Han elaborates, “For the arts & crafts section, we had professional woodburning from Mr. Feng,” a beloved CCHS Chinese teacher who recently retired, as well as “Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting from parents, and high-quality paper cutting and origami tables hosted by CCHS Chinese class students.” Ms. Cheng led a group of CMS students to host some fun craft tables for younger kids, such as the chopsticks-picking jelly bean game, dragon puppets, and red envelope lanterns. Furthermore, CMS students performed a shadow puppet show on the stage platform in the cafeteria, telling the story of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. As you can see, attendees of all ages were immersed in a multitude of eye-opening activities.

Woodburning by Mr. Feng. Photo Courtesy of Ms. Han.
Chinese calligraphy by a parent volunteer. Photos Courtesy of Ms. Han.

Lastly, attendees were treated to a wide variety of fantastic performances. Ms. Han says, “For the performance, we carefully selected a variety of programs performed by different groups of people, including students, local performers from the communities, and professional performance.” Ms. Huang designed the programs and trained all the young performers. Chinese class students from all three schools presented the audience with Happy New Year Greetings. The Lunar Dragon artwork competition winners were also announced, and they were Phebe Lin, Brin Pomeroy, and Eric Shin from CMS, Micah Lin from Alcott, and Donyuan Yang from CPS. Ms. Huang herself performed a brilliant ribbon dance. Subsequently, there were several more talented performances, including songs, piano, qipao dance, martial arts, and Chinese yo-yo. To conclude, Zhan Tao Lin performed beautiful traditional music on the erhu, a Chinese two-stringed bowed musical instrument.

Happy New Year Greetings from Chinese class students.
Ms. Huang performed an exciting ribbon dance.
Erhu performance by Zhan Tao Lin, Alexis and Kayla Zhang, and Kayla and Trevor Hum.

As the echoes of the Lunar New Year celebration fade away, the spirit of unity, diversity, and cultural appreciation continues to resonate in our tight-knit community. This event served as a testament to our community’s commitment to embracing cultural diversity, reminding us of the power of celebration in bringing people together. “As to the feedback from people, I’ve collected from all my Chinese class students and all of them feel proud of the event and want it to happen again,” Ms. Han reflects, further noting that “Ms. Cheng and Ms. Huang have been hearing positive feedback as well. I think we have achieved one of our missions very well: bringing the enjoyment of celebrating the Lunar New Year to the communities.”

Ms. Han continues, “Our school, CCHS, has been supportive of multiculturalism, and the location itself was perfect for the collaboration work from schools in both Concord and Carlisle. As my Chinese class students observed and reflected, I hope we can reach out to more people who are interested in engaging in this event. For example, kids from Concord elementary schools would be curious about the Lion Dance or other Asian performances and want to participate in the performance, or high school students, no matter what foreign language they are taking, may want to have the chance to learn more about the cultural product[s] they observed in the event. I hope this Lunar New Year celebration can be a bridge for local people reaching the other side of the earth, Asia.”

All student performers, from kindergarteners to high schoolers, on stage together after the performances concluded.

As we look back on the success of the Lunar New Year celebration, let us carry forward the spirit of unity and cultural appreciation that defined the event, embracing the richness of diversity and celebrating the unique heritage of our school community.

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Sarafina Zhang, Writer
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