Lunar New Year party held in library


Matt Bolden

Freshmen Theo Khakoo, Paari Palani and Caleb Born participate in the Lunar New Year’s celebration. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger.

On Feb. 11, Chinese teacher Tina Lee and her students held a Lunar New Year celebration in the library. The event showcased aspects of the diverse Chinese culture. 

“The Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration that begins on Feb.1, or the beginning of the new lunar cycle,” Lee said. “The lunar calendar is based on the monthly cycles of the moon’s phases. The calendar is the background of our culture and something that belongs to us. Each year, a new zodiac animal is cycled through. There are 12 animals, and this year it is the Year of the Tiger, which signifies power and strength.”

Lee is originally from Taiwan, being overseas has given her a new perspective on the importance of the holiday. 

“I never felt like the Chinese New Year was something special because we did it out of habit,” Lee said. “Now living in America, I feel like it’s something that reminds me of where I’m from. It’s my roots; it’s who I am. I want to introduce this culture to my students and teach them what the Lunar New Year is about.”

To prepare for their party, the class took a field trip to a Chinese supermarket to look for specific items. They stocked the items to prepare for their celebration.

“I gave the students a shopping list and then they had to look for the item and practice their Chinese,” Lee said. “At the party, we played games and other fun activities. This year, I even cooked dumplings for them because it’s our tradition as Chinese to eat dumplings, they represent wealth.”

Freshman Chinese student, Brayden Nelson, helped in the celebration by making decorations. Ms. Lee doesn’t just focus on teaching the language during class, but the history of what they’re learning.

“I enjoyed our field trip,” Nelson said. “We got to experience a whole day of Chinese food and activities. Ms. Lee is a great teacher because we learn a lot about the culture more than some of the other languages. I know more of why things are how they are today. It’s nice to know the background of the culture.”

The Chinese New Year is a time to bring family together and take part in traditions that have been passed down through the generations. 

“My favorite part about celebrating is getting people together,” Lee said. “I love to see my students get involved and excited for Chinese New Year. As a family, we cook a big feast and play all sorts of games.”

The librarian, Jamie Allen, was a crucial part in the planning of this party. She reached out to Lee to offer the library as a place for their party.

“I knew that last year Ms. Lee had done a little celebration in her classroom, but it was small and didn’t reach many students,” Allen said. “I wanted to host because it was a chance to celebrate the diversity of culture here at our school. That’s been my mission this year. I want to make sure every student in this school feels represented when in the library whether that’s through a book, an event or activity. I want them to feel purpose and I want them to feel like they’re loved and belong here.”

Allen and Lee worked together to bring Chinese culture to life in the library. Along the way, Allen learned a lot about Chinese culture from an outsider’s perspective. 

“I have learned a lot that I had no idea about,” Allen said. “All the beautiful artwork that they have and the symbolism behind everything. Putting this celebration on from an outsider’s perspective really helped me understand the traditions. Chinese culture truly is one of a kind.”