This year, the first day of the Lunar New Year falls on Tuesday, February 5th. Traditionally, Chinese New Year celebrations last for two whole weeks, culminating in the Lantern Festival on the 15th lunar day (February 19 this year).
I have very fond memories of celebrating the Lantern Festival growing up in Taiwan. We would light up our small colorful lanterns and walk with them to the temple, where countless beautifully decorated lanterns would be hung, lighting up the night sky. Of course, no lantern festival would be complete without some delicious Yuan Xiao (a sweet sticky rice ball filled with sesame paste, and named after the legend of the young maid Yuan Xiao from the Han Dynasty).
This year at ISTP each division will be marking the new year in a different way. On both campuses, students will be treated to hot lunch and a traditional lion dance and martial arts performance by Studio Kicks.
On Cowper Campus, our Early Years students will enjoy games and crafts in the Social Hall, thanks to our generous parent volunteers.
On Cohn Campus the elementary students will also participate in a fun fair. The Chinese program elementary teachers have designed fair activities, together with their grade level teams, inspired by students’ current IB units. For example, our 1st graders are studying ancient civilizations, so the 1st grade teachers organized activities related to the Han Dynasty Lantern Festival legend – tasting Yuan Xiao and writing Chinese New Year related characters in traditional calligraphy.
In middle school, this year is special because it is the first time that all our middle schoolers, in both programs, will be joining in the Chinese New Year fun. Our Chinese program 6th graders will be performing the story of Yuan Xiao and the Lantern Festival for their peers, directed by middle school teacher Jin Huo.
The 7th and 8th graders in the Chinese program were given the responsibility to organize the CNY celebration for the rest of the middle schoolers as part of their MYP Service and Action Activity. They are taking the initiative to design activities they think the entire middle school will enjoy, led by middle school teacher Stephanie Puk.
It means so much to me and my fellow Chinese program teachers to see our beloved memories and traditions being honored in our school community, and we look forward to the celebrations!
I wish you and your family a healthy and prosperous Year of the Pig!