Community Enjoys Lunar New Year Celebration

Abby Hahn, Senior Editor

On January 22, many Asian cultures celebrated the Lunar New Year. Unlike on the Western calendar, Lunar New Year falls on the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon. In Chinese culture, the Zodiac also changes with the New Year, designating one of twelve animals to each consecutive year. 2023 brings the Year of the Rabbit.

Throughout the week of Lunar New Year, the Friends community hosted activities and events to celebrate the holiday. During a Meeting for Announcements, the Asian Culture Club held a Kahoot trivia game about Lunar New Year. “I think it is important to acknowledge that it is a big celebration that most of the Asian countries celebrate, and for people to learn a little bit about it. Kahoots make it fun and informative,” said Nini Hayes ‘23, the leader of Asian Culture Club. Additionally, the Asian Culture Club presented to Lower School students about Lunar New Year, explaining traditions like not showering on Lunar New Year, stories like that of Nian, the monster who people fought off with firecrackers, and other important symbols like fire and the color red. “We got all generations involved in knowing about this holiday,” Hayes said. 

In high school classes such as Vicky Tan’s Chinese classes, students also designed their own Hong Bao, traditional Chinese red envelopes commonly given out during the holidays, and learned about the various traditions and beliefs associated with the New Year in China, such as not sweeping on the day of Lunar New Year. 

Throughout the week, the cafeteria was also decorated with festive red lanterns and paper cut-outs, allowing the entire school community to celebrate the holiday. On January 24, the cafeteria also served delicious Asian-style dishes like honey and tamari glazed chicken, steamed fish, vegetable fried rice, mushroom bao buns, and offered fortune cookies for students and faculty to enjoy.

Ashley Shaw, the Director of Special Events, along with the Lunar New Year committee also organized a Lunar New Year dinner celebration at the Golden Unicorn restaurant. Students, faculty, and families gathered in celebration and enjoyed dim sum and classic dishes like Buddha’s Delight, lo mein and General Tso’s Chicken. Through various activities like the calligraphy stand, photo booth, and a “chopstick race” game, lower and middle school students were also able to engage with Asian culture in fun ways. During the event, there were also musical performances by the Lower School students and a duet of Teresa Teng’s “Tian Mimi” performed by Sophia Morrison ‘24 and Elinor Hershkowitz ‘24. Concluding the night, the Wing Hong Yip Dragon Style Kung Fu group performed an exciting Lion Dance, a traditional dance to bring good luck. 

After the absence of Lunar New Year celebrations in the past couple years, this year’s community activities were a great way to bring some New Year’s spirit to the Year of the Rabbit.