Celebrating Lunar New Year

Our #WeAreChappaqua students celebrated the 2023 Lunar New Year with curricular learning, special events, and guest speakers throughout the District. The Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year. Marked by many traditions, this year, Lunar New Year is Sunday, January 22nd and celebrations last for 16 days from New Year's Eve to the Lantern Festival, which honors deceased ancestors and aims to promote reconciliation, peace, and forgiveness.

“Celebrating Lunar New Year ties into our social studies curriculum, specifically to our civics unit where students learn about how different holidays are celebrated,” said Jenna Baig, kindergarten teacher at Westorchard. “The students enjoyed learning about the traditions of Lunar New Year by making lanterns and listening to a story read by one of our class parents.”

In our elementary schools, students participated in read alouds of texts like Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin, Friends Are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu, and Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee. Students also practiced their STEAM skills, making paper lanterns and paper plate drums. At Bell, students even built a robot dragon that included multiple LED lights, sensors, and motors. Students from Greeley’s AAPI Club joined the Seven Bridges Middle Morning Show to teach students about and celebrate the Lunar New Year.

At Greeley, the Mandarin Chinese program, Horace Greeley Chinese Club, World Language Department, teachers, and the Greeley PTA organized a school-wide Lunar New Year celebration featuring delicious Chinese food and activities like the bunny toss, ping-pong, Chinese paper cutting, and lantern riddles, a chopsticks game, red envelope raffle, and calligraphy. Students had the opportunity to build community and learn about important traditions.

“The commitment and dedication of our Chinese Club student leaders and classes to create an inclusive, educational and fun event for our Greeley community was clearly evident at the Lunar New Year Celebration,” said Lauren Olmo, Student Life Coordinator at Greeley. “Our students and faculty were able to participate in the many traditions and celebrations that brought great joy to our community.”

Ilsa Chen and Jennifer Kuo, teachers of the Mandarin Chinese program, organized the Lunar New Year Celebration. Afterwards, they asked students to share their learning and takeaways from planning the event. One student shared, “Through this Chinese New Year project I feel I especially got to learn more about Chinese culture, the Lunar New year celebration itself, and why different things occur in terms of the Spring Festival. Getting to learn more about Chinese culture was one of the reasons why I took Chinese in the first place, so any opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture or festivals I enjoy.”

Students also commented on the event’s success in building community, sharing, “I thought that celebrating Chinese New Year at school was really fun and it was nice to hang out with friends and celebrate together. The activities and food were also really amazing.”

“Members of our community will take advantage of our events if we present them to them. There were many students who came to the event and were interested in learning about Chinese culture.”

Thank you to our students and staff for planning these exciting opportunities for our students. Happy Lunar New Year to all who celebrate!