Celebrating the 'New Year' in Chinese classStudents at Red Rock and Royal Oaks elementaries got a little taste of Chinese culture as the schools celebrated Chinese New Year.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Students at Red Rock and Royal Oaks elementaries got a little taste of Chinese culture Thursday, Feb. 12 as the schools celebrated Chinese New Year.
“The Chinese New Year is an important holiday as it is a time for family reunions, and for visiting friends and relatives,” said Peggy Leung, who teaches Mandarin Chinese at Red Rock Elementary. “We congratulate each other on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the New Year.”
Sunday, Feb. 14 2010 marked the first day of the “Year of the Tiger,” according to the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated for 15 days.
Some of the activities associated with the Chinese New Year include putting up lanterns, red door strolls, cleaning the house, a big family meal, firecrackers, parades of lions and dragons and of course dancing, said Shen Fei, who teaches Mandarin Chinese at Royal Oaks Elementary.
During the Chinese New Year celebrations at the two elementary schools, the Ha Family Lion Troupe demonstrated a variety of Chinese traditions — the lion dance, the red ribbon dance and sword dance.
“Sometimes it is not easy to learn a culture by just reading a book or watching a video,” Leung said. “You have to be there to feel the atmosphere.”
About 600 students are enrolled in Mandarin Chinese at Red Rock Elementary. Five elementary schools, all four middle school and Woodbury High School and East Ridge High School all offer Mandarin Chinese as a language choice in District 833.
Leung said it is very important for elementary students to be exposed to international traditions and cultural histories early because it will help them better understand the world.
“It helps students be aware of the world around them which will help students to be open minded,” she said. “They will understand that there are people living differently and also know how to respect them.”