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Mandarin classes organize Lunar New Year celebration

Mandarin classes organize Lunar New Year celebration
Jennifer Godwin-Minto

In a celebration of hope, tradition and reunion, students from Poly’s Lower, Middle and Upper School gathered on McWilliams Courtyard on Feb. 9 to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Organized by the Upper School Mandarin program, the festival began with performances from each Mandarin class.

“Each year, we start preparing for it a month in advance, choreographing and practicing,” said Brendan Poon, a senior in AP Chinese.

Wenchi Yang Selzer, Mandarin I and II teacher and co-director of the performance, commented “Students also practice their soft skills, such as teamwork, leadership and self-motivation as they must complete the process without much teacher guidance.”

The performance started with a traditional Chinese song, “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin,” by Teresa Tang, followed by a sword fight to represent the coming of spring, a skit about the legend of the monster Nian, a traditional fan dance and separate Middle and Upper School dragon dances. Senior Tess Oreck and junior Jeremy Hsieh closed with trivia.

After the performances, students stopped by 35 booths, featuring a wide range of delicious foods — such as Chinese crepes and tanghulu — in addition to crafts and sports with roots in Chinese traditions.

Sophomore Xiya Shively, who ran the bracelet-making booth, noted, “This craft has been prevalent since the first dynasty with each color representing a different meaning.”

Sophie Pang, a sophomore running the tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) booth, described, “The phrase ‘tang tang yuan yuan’ symbolizes union.”

As Lois Chung, Mandarin teacher and co-director of the performance, said, “The celebration provides Asian Americans with the opportunity to celebrate Lunar New Year and share their culture with others.”

Jennifer Godwin-Minto
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