2016 Chinese New Year: The Year of the Monkey

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Starting on the week of February 8th, Chatham High School’s Chinese Club celebrated the 2016 Chinese New Year: The Year of the Monkey. The club members, all of the students in Chinese classes, and other students and staff were given the opportunity to participate in multiple cultural activities throughout the week to better inform them about the importance and overall significance of the Chinese New Year.

To kick off the New Year, on Monday the 8th, each of the Chinese classes were given the opportunity to make there own home-made dumplings from scratch. The Home-Ec teacher, Mrs. Schmitter, and Chinese teacher, Yanfei Li-McGurrin, instructed the students how to exactly make the dumplings. The process was actually quite simple although very tedious, especially when it came to folding the dumplings to it’s original shape that we all know and love. The students spent the period learning about the process of making the food, as well as the cultural significance that it held. The dumpling itself represents “good luck” or “good fortune” while foods such as noodles and chicken symbolize “long life” and “auspicious.” Though it may have only been the Chinese students that were enabled to participate in this fun-filled event, the whole school was able to dabble in this experience by eating them at lunch the next day! Junior, Stephen Piccari, said “The dumplings were amazing, and it was especially cool that they were made by students.”

The next day, the Chinese Club set up shop in the cafeteria with multiple events for all students to participate in throughout the day. Each period, the Chinese class that was in session came to the cafeteria to go through a series of chinese cultural stations doing events such as paper cutting, a chopstick challenge, and learning the art of Calligraphy. “It was a really fun experience learning about the Chinese culture and going through all of the stations. I especially liked the calligraphy station,” said freshman Caroline Barry.  All students were welcome to join and go through the multiple stations during the day as well. Though it may mostly been Chinese club members and students who joined in the festivities, there were many students who came and joined in from study hall.  At each station, when the student was finished with their assigned task, they got a sticker indicating that they have fully understood the cultural concept. Once the student had finished all of the stations and got all of their stickers, they were able to exchange it for Chinese money (not real money, just candy)!

This year, the Chinese New Year celebration was an ultimate success at CHS. It brought together the whole school on this very special holiday. All students were able to experience a hint of Chinese culture and tradition. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to China every year for this week of celebration, and though the festivities at CHS may not have been as large as the Beijing celebration, it was a great ethnic experience for all students and staff at the High school.