Lunar New Year, 2023, marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac, a figure manifesting hope and peace.
There is no better way to fulfill this promise of the Rabbit but with kindness, community, and respect, values which threaded their way through all the cultural activities and lessons on both campuses. The evidence was seen on all the smiling faces of our students and echoed in the well-wishing of happiness and prosperity for the approaching year during this weeklong celebration.
On the Upper Campus, the Chinese Cultural and International Clubs, both student-driven, joined forces to create engaging activities throughout the week. It began at an all-school assembly on Monday with an informative video explaining the origins and details within different cultures of Lunar New Year and an explanation of the upcoming events. Tuesday launched jianzi, a national sport in China often called “shuttlecock,” much like badminton but without a racket and, like hacky-sack, only the use of a player’s feet. Students gathered together outside to watch friends try their hand, or rather, foot at playing this challenging game.
The Lower Campus began festivities well before by decorating their classrooms and the campus and learning about the different countries which observe Lunar New Year and the customs they honor. On Friday, January 20, the 6th Grade gathered together for an opportunity to learn about Lunar New Year while enjoying dumplings that parents prepared and served in the amphitheater near their classrooms.
Dumplings were available to all students on both the Upper and Lower Campuses, again served by a generous group of parents. On Wednesday, Upper Campus students were able to make their own dumplings after demonstrations by several parents. Charlie C. ’25, also donned a rabbit costume to add to the spirit of the occasion. Ethan G. ’25, a student volunteer helping with the production, commented, “Dumplings are an essential part of the feast because they symbolize fortune and prosperity.” Charity and a desire for others to prosper undergirds the actions and themes of Lunar New Year in all cultures. Kindness, one of the Sierra Canyon cornerstones of the Big Four Character Education program, mirrors this sentiment.
This gustatory celebration moved to the Lower Campus on Thursday, where all the younger students marveled at the parent dumpling demonstrations and loved gobbling up all of these delicious prosperous purses. Also, on the Lower Campus, Kindergarten students invested time and creativity into making their own hand-held dragons. They proudly paraded these mythical creatures around campus, undulating in and out of classrooms and beaming happy new year to all grade levels while showing off their creations.
The gift of red envelopes plays an important role in Chinese Lunar New Year, representing the older generation passing on prosperity to the younger. Lower School students received red envelopes and also ceremoniously fed them to Lion dancers who performed for them on Thursday. Seeing the delight in the young students’ eyes as they alighted upon the mercurial movements of the lions reminded parents and faculty of the joy that comes from such engaging emprise and programs.
The lion dancers also performed on the Upper Campus and provided a reminder that young and older, meaningful and cultural experiences impact all students and adults in a manner simply measured by the exuberance of the activities because of our deep desires to celebrate one another and respect the contributions we all give to make our community diverse and strong. Happy New Year to all, and may the Year of the Rabbit bring you the peace and calm this symbol represents.
Special thanks to all the parents, faculty, staff, and our students that have been working so hard this week, both on campus and behind the scenes, to bring the beauty and excitement of the Lunar New Year to Sierra Canyon. There are too many generous individuals to name here, but we could not have done this without you!