The Role of Chinese New Year: Celebrating at Minnetonka Public Schools

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Jing McIntosh-Yee, Staff Writer

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Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in China. It is a time for the entire family to gather to celebrate new beginnings, honoring the household as well as appreciating heavenly deities and their ancestors. The Chinese New Year has no set date, but rather follows the Lunar calendar. It also incorporates the twelve animal zodiac signs. For instance, this year is the Year of the Pig. Chinese New Year incorporates many different traditions such as the giving of red envelopes for good fortune and lucky money as well as making and eating various kinds dumplings.

Senior, Eric Liu, says that while his uncle’s family lives in New York, the majority of his family lives in Fu Zhou, China. Even though his extended family lives in China and New York, they use WeChat to communicate and celebrate Chinese New York.

“My favorite day of the year is Chinese New Year because I can eat amazing food and bond with my relatives from far away. Normally, we would make dumplings every Chinese New Year. However, we did something different this year. This year we celebrated by eating hotpot and seafood. We would also give out red packets or envelopes to our relatives, either personally or on WeChat. My favorite thing about Chinese New Year is the red packets because I would normally get a few hundred dollars. My favorite food are dumplings because of their vast variety, but my favorite kind are steamed dumplings,” said Liu.

In past years, there has been Chinese New Year celebration at the high school, put together by Excelsior and Scenic Heights Elementary school principals, which has not taken place since before 2017. While there is not a school-wide celebration of the New Year at the high school, the elementary schools have chosen to celebrate it within their own school.

Excelsior Elementary School Principal, Stacy DeCorsey says, “We made the switch a couple of years back. Each building is organizing and doing their own Chinese New Year celebration. Excelsior has plans each day for a week. We are setting up a Chinese night market in the auditorium, we have a dragon dancer coming and many other events manned. We felt it was nice for all of our students to be involved instead of just a select few who could go to the high school for an evening event.”

However, there is minimal recognition at the high school, where there are generally only celebrations in Chinese classes.

Liu said, “I think there should be more recognition of Chinese New Year at our school because it is fun and entertaining. I think it must be fun to celebrate with your Chinese classmates. I think the celebration should keep going because it can make memories for the little kids.”

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