Lunar New year represents a special time for many of our international students as they look to celebrate one of the most important annual traditions in many East Asia, including China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and many more. This year, the holiday on falls on January 25, 2020, and represents the Year of the Rat in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese New Year celebrations. Like Christmas and Thanksgiving, the Lunar New Year Festival is meant to be celebrated with loved ones and friends. For students studying abroad, this can be a time when they feel especially homesick. This is an excellent opportunity for schools to plan festivities involving your international students to show them that you appreciate their culture and for the entire school to join in on the fun. Here are some best ways to celebrate Lunar New Year at your school!
Make Lunar New Year the Theme of an Assembly
Invite the entire school to an assembly centered around the Lunar New Year Festival. This an opportunity to have your international students and student organizations come together to lead a school-wide assembly. Have your students take the lead in telling their stories and sharing their traditions with the rest of the student body. Last year, Vanguard College Preparatory School held its Annual International Student Assembly lead by Cambridge Network students. Students organized and hosts the event where they shared their experiences as students in their own countries and then opened to questions from the audience.
Create Decorations for Lunar New Year with Fun and Interactive Activities
The art of paper cutting dates back to the second century when Cai Lun invented paper in the Eastern Han Dynasty in China. Paper cutting, a popular style of Chinese folk art, is an activity that can easily be taught by a non-specialist and adapted for all ages. The traditional method uses thin red paper, which is cut into intricate design displays. Red is often associated with festivities of happiness and prosperity in Chinese and Sino-Vietnamese culture. Vietnam and Korea both follow the same zodiac as China, so have your students create some rat cut-outs for your festivities.
Calligraphy and Door Banners
The Chinese symbol “fu” (福) means good luck, is traditionally hung upside down during Lunar New Year to say “the luck has arrived.” It is displayed on a red square turned diagonally. The red square with “fu” for prosperity is usually hung with bright red door banners, or Chunlian, with messages of good luck and fortune for the New Year. You can find these at the entrances most Chinese homes around the holiday season. Your international students can help lead their peers in creating and writing these decorations.
Food to Eat During Lunar Year
Vietnamese New Year (Tết Nguyên Đán), or Tết for short, translates to “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day.” In Vietnamese, to celebrate Tết is understood as “ăn Tết” or eat Tết which should give you an idea about how important food is on this holiday. This is similar to Chinese and Korean celebrations as well. Click to here see highlights from last year’s Lunar New Year Celebration Highlights. For more Lunar New Year Recipes and Blogs, check out the links below.