The Hunting Horn

San Marino’s Chinese New Year Festival

Mayzee Hsu, Editor-in-Chief

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Chinese New Year festivities start around mid-February unlike the usual western New Year celebrations, which start at end of the previous year and leading into January 1. In 2018, or the Year of the Dog, Chinese New Year starts on February 15. The meaning of this holiday is to celebrate the new year, wish for luck, fortune, and love, and to welcome the first days of spring. This 15-day celebration is not just celebrated by the Chinese; Taiwanese, Korean, Mongolian, Vietnamese, and other nationalities celebrate it too through different traditions and cultural performances. Lunar New Year is also celebrated by significant ethnic groups found in Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, and more.

Usually during Chinese New Year people would set off firecrackers, burn fake money and bamboo sticks, and spring clean to ward away bad luck and evil spirits and welcome their dead relatives and ancestors with offerings of food and money. Elders would often give red envelopes filled with money to children, for the color red symbolizes good luck and wealth. A sticky rice-like cake called Nian Gao (*means New Year Cake; homophones w/ “Successful Year”) would be eaten with family, along with uncut noodles (*represents long life), oranges (*represents wealth and luck), and dumplings (*represents wealth), just to name a few. Performance wise, the festivals are usually very grand and a one of a kind, with booming music, vibrant shades of red, and decorations everywhere. At every festival a lion dance is performed, usually with two lions operated by four people. Alongside the lion dance, the dragon dance is commonly performed, with around 10 people operating a dragon (*depends on the dragon’s length). Children and adults might also perform New Year songs.

At our local Chinese New Year festival organized by the Chinese Club of San Marino, it’s like a mini, more kid-oriented version of a regular festival. The currency used for the food and games are tickets, which are $1 each if one wanted to buy some. During the first third of the event, shows were performed by various artists, which include the lion dance, martial arts, and more. The food isn’t usually what people eat during New Year, for they were prepared by various restaurants and such. The selection included full meals such as popcorn chicken and minced meat rice to snacks and drinks such as cotton candy and boba. Artwork was also displayed near the entrance, which consisted of all the winners of the Chinese New Year art competition. Flower sets filled with orchids and other varieties were sold in the lunch court next to the concession stands. Booths were set in a square-like formation, consisting of various activities. Games included Spin the Wheel, Hook the Fish, and Knock the Cans, where children and adults alike can win small prizes. Other miscellaneous booths include Glitter Tattoos, College Prep, and Mr. Wang’s annual Calligraphy booth where he shares his skills and works. Most of the attendees were students from San Marino’s local Chinese school, with a few teachers from our schools and our HMS ASB members enjoying the party or volunteering at a booth. San Marino’s Chinese New Year festival is what most Chinese school students and teachers look forward to, either to take a break or hang out with friends.

 

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