Early Childhood Division

Connecting with Culture at Lunar New Year

February is a month filled with celebrations, love, friendship, and cheerful energy. This month, we celebrate Lunar New Year—Year of the Dragon, Black History Month, and our 100th Day of School! On campus, our students and teachers have been abuzz with all kinds of Lunar New Year cultural activities and are practicing diligently to shine on the Mass Greeting stage!

As the holiday approaches, seeing our Chinese teachers introducing red envelopes, dragon dance, and Chinese traditional food (Niangao, Jiaozi, Tangyuan) for the new year, I feel the connection to those who came before me in my culture, feeling the foreverness of their presence, going back hundreds and thousands of years. Lunar New Year has always been a time of joy and euphoria for me. I want to cherish it, continue the tradition, and, more importantly, create a sense of belonging to this culture for my own kids as a bridge from the past to the present and the future! I have been thinking about what it means for my own kid who was born and will grow up in the US as an American but with an Asian identity. Through this annual celebration, I want my kid to understand that being American should not be an either/or; being American is about AND.

Lunar New Year has always been a time of storytelling and cultural celebration. From the dishes on the dinner table to the decorations we put up around the house, there are always stories and meanings passed on from generation to generation. This year, with the overlap of Black History Month and Lunar New Year in February, it’s the perfect time to share our own stories, listen to others, and celebrate together! In the classroom, our teachers use Black History Month as a door to open for critical reflection and honest conversation with our students about race, the rich culture, and the immense contributions of African Americans to US history and the future. I am genuinely grateful that our students have the opportunity to grow up within such dynamic diversity and to be more enriched adults in the future as Americans who are about AND!

Through the Lunar New Year Celebration, through rituals and gatherings, our Firedragons know that connectedness to family in Asian culture is like all family connections in all cultures, that at the core, it’s all about love for one another.

I wish everybody a healthy and prosperous Year of the Dragon! 恭喜发财, 龙年大吉!(May you have a prosperous year, great luck in the Dragon Year!)