Chinese New Year celebration comes to WA


Varshini Ramanathan

The lion stops to eat Antonelli’s offering during the Lion Dance.

Kai-Jia Yue and Varshini Ramanathan

On Friday, January 27, WA Chinese teacher Zhenyan Li and her classes threw a Chinese New Year Celebration.

The whole cafeteria was decorated with traditional Chinese red lanterns and banners, with surroundings covered in red due to the Chinese legend that the color would scare away evil meant to harm villages. This year is the year of the Rooster, one of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac.

The celebration started off with a traditional lion dance in which two people would wear a lion costume and preform a dance to signify the new year and to protect the people from the evils that may arise during the new year. As the lion danced, it was accompanied by the loud clashing of symbols and drums. The beating of the drums symbolize the dragons heartbeat and the clashing of the symbols are meant to scare away evil or bad fortune.

Parading around the room, the lion took hong bao or red packets from children’s hands as good luck. It eventually made its way back up to the front of the room where Principal Jim Antonelli held a some food for the lion which contained clementines and lettuce. It was then shredded up by the lion and thrown into the crowd. Catching a piece of lettuce or tangerine signifies good luck in the new year.

After the lion dance, food was brought in from the local Chinese restaurant Bamboo and the students prepared for the second half of the celebration.

When everyone one was settled back down, the audience was shown a brief history of how Chinese New year celebration. The presentation concluded with the passing out of Hong Bao, small red packets  usually handed out to children to protect them and bring them happiness, safety and good fortune for the coming year.

Many students were excited about the upcoming performances and activities.

“It’s a great opportunity to come together and experience Chinese culture as a community,” Junior Ria Chawla said.

Many Chinese songs accompanied by dancing were performed after the presentation. There were also raffles done for traditional Chinese clothing, book marks, and art. At one point during the festivities a professional Chinese painter, Shannon Wu, came and a drew a picture of a rooster which was then raffled off.

One of the performances was a play by the students which was called The Emperor’s New Clothes. This was a play about an emperor who was tricked into buying nothing by two con- men who persuaded him that he was buying a piece of clothing that was something the emperor had never seen before.

Li wanted the celebration to introduce the Westford community Chinese culture and publicize the Chinese program that has recently come to WA,

“I think that since the Chinese program is new so not many people know the Chinese program in Westford. I would like to share and introduce the culture with the whole community,” she said.

As the celebration came to a close, many administrators seemed to enjoy the performances and how well the whole celebration came together,

“I think its wonderful. I was really excited about it and I had no idea that there would be this kind of turn out[…]Its really fun for me to see,” said guidance counselor Wendy Peacachek.

Li was happy about how the celebration turned out.

“This is totally run by the students, so I am so proud of them. They did a wonderful job,” she said