January 28th marked the 2017 Lunar New Year, also known in China as the Spring Festival (Chūn Jié; 春節), and rang in Year of the Rooster. The New Century School honored many Chinese New Year traditions schoolwide the day before on New Year’s Eve, which is considered Day 1 of the overall festivities.
Organized primarily by Wei Li (Li Laoshi) and Yu Lin (Lin Laoshi), there were dances mimicking the traditional Lion Dance in the pre-primary and primary classrooms; lower elementary students made beautiful spherical lanterns; and upper elementary and middle-school students passed hongbao (红包), red envelopes containing money or gifts to confer good luck (as well as money) to the recipients. Everyone got to eat delicious homemade vegetarian dumplings (with Kindergarten classes and up making their own), another good-luck custom in China on this special occasion.
In China, additional ongoing activities range from thorough housecleaning to shopping to setting off firecrackers. Li Laoshi, who was born in a Dog Year, explains what Chinese New Year means to her and why she was inspired to make TNCS’s celebrations so special:
I think Chinese New Year is the most important festival for Chinese, especially for people who are abroad. It always reminds us where our relatives’ hometown and roots are. It’s also like a connection to gather Chinese people who live here all together during this festival. Chinese New Year is way more than just eating dumplings and passing red envelopes but the existence of Chinese spirit. I feel so proud Chinese New Year is being accepted by increasing people and is playing a more influential role around the whole world.
It just so happened that the elementary and middle-school students got another special treat when one of their schoolmates, a 2nd-grader, performed two Chinese opera songs in full costume. See her amazing performances here:
The fun didn’t end last Friday, though, as Chinese New Year is celebrated for 16 days (from New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival, which takes place on February 15th). Today marks Day 8, a very auspicious day, according to Chinese tradition. Spend it eating food you love, with the people you love.
In closing, here are some predictions broken down by Chinese zodiac sign to give you (most of you, anyway) something to really crow about, as befits Year of the Fire Rooster!
- Natives of the year of the rooster: You will easily resolve problems that cross your path, especially because you can count on support from powerful and influential people this year.
- Natives of the year of the rat: Look forward to enjoying many happy events, including financial success.
- Natives of the year of the ox: You will enjoy unexpected success and unforeseen events.
- Natives of the year of the tiger: You will not lack anything, enjoying a special astral protection and devoted friends that will come to your aid, even in the last minute.
- Natives of the year of the dragon: For you, 2017 will be full of positive events and very good news, career progress, and profitable businesses.
- Natives of the year of the snake: Anticipate standing out professionally and being promoted.
- Natives of the year of the horse: This could be a good year, with personal and financial achievements, but imbalance and career changes could prevail, making you irritable and mischievous.
- Natives of the year of the goat: Your expenditures may outrun your income this year, potentially leading to problems with the family and loved ones, who may try to get you back on track.
- Natives of the year of the monkey: For you, 2017 is going to be really good, especially from a romantic point of view.
- Natives of the year of the rabbit: This year may bring you difficulty and tension regarding material aspects.
- Natives of the year of the boar: For you, this may be a busy and stressful year due to potential financial or professional problems that will require patience and tenacity to be resolved.
- Natives of the year of the dog: Some unexpected problems in health and romance might occur.
On the bright side, overall this year, people will be more polite and less stubborn (but they may have the tendency to complicate things); 2017 is oriented toward progress, honor, and maximum integrity, with people learning to moderate themselves.
Xīnnián kuàilè (新年快乐)!