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Community Welcomes in the New Year of the Rabbit

Community Welcomes in the New Year of the Rabbit

Community Welcomes in the New Year of the Rabbit


Students perform a dance at an all-school meeting.

Arts Editor

February 16, 2023

Aaliyah Wang '25

Students, parents, and faculty celebrated Lunar New Year over the course of several days with a series of performances, games, a karaoke booth, decorations, student-led chapel talks, and a feast offering a variety of traditional Asian cuisine. Amidst festivities, community members reacted to the tragic Monterey Park shooting, which occurred during Lunar New Year celebrations in California on January 21.

Lunar New Year, also referred to as the Spring Festival, is one of the most popular festivals celebrated by Asian communities around the world. Beginning with the first new moon of the lunar calendar, the two-week celebration focuses on uniting families, friends, and loved ones and celebrating gratitude, family harmony, and good fortune.

The color red is ubiquitous in Lunar New Year decorations, as it is considered to attract luck and good fortune and symbolizes vitality in the new year. People wear red outfits to visit friends and loved ones and exchange blessings and gifts. Children receive red envelopes filled with cash.

On New Year’s Eve, people set off fireworks welcoming the new year. This tradition has its roots in folklore: according to legend, the annual arrival of a monster named Nian brought chaos and havoc to Chinese villages, until people discovered the use of fireworks to scare him away.

Parents and alumni from around the world purchased and delivered decorations and groceries and volunteered to go shopping for cultural foods with Mike Webster, general manager of dining services.

Along with parent volunteers, the Hotchkiss Lunar New Year committee, consisting of Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, chief of staff to the head of school; Johanna Haan, director of leadership giving; the DEI office; the Dining Services team; Mrs. Marcie Wistar, director of student activities, clubs, and affinity organizations; Chinese Club; Korea Club; Ms. Wei Liu, Chinese Program Coordinator and instructor in Chinese; and Ms. Jingxia Yang, instructor in Chinese, help ensured the success of the celebrations.

Yin Yin P’20, ’25 said, “A few years ago, the Lunar New Year celebration dinner was a few parents and grandparents who cooked food in the electric pots in the Faculty Room. It is so wonderful to see that this effort has now expanded to such a scale with tasty traditional foods, wonderful performances, and games involving everyone in the Hotchkiss community.”

With assistance from the Chinese Club, Anthony Hu ’25, Isabella Wei ’23, Mr. Pierre Yoo, associate director of diversity and inclusion, and Mr. Brashears, technical director, helped organize dance, rap, and singing performances at all-school on January 24.

In all-school meeting on Tuesday, Wei and Annie Dong ’23 addressed the shootings at Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay in California. They expressed sorrow for the families that lost loved ones and their shock at the events occuring during the festive holiday. They noted that the Lunar New Year values of unity, family, and respect could be applied to the community during these difficult times.

The DEI office and the Pan-Asian affinity group provided safe spaces for Pan-Asian students to share their feelings. Dong, head of the Pan-Asian affinity group, said, “The timing of the gun violence definitely made a huge impact on Asian communities. It brings me pain to see that an Asian person would take the life of other Asians, especially during such a significant time of the year. With the two consecutive shootings happening over the course of a few days, it was difficult for many of my peers and me to process the impact of these horrific events.”

On Tuesday, January 31, the Pan-Asian affinity group held a meeting discussing Asian mass shooters in the U.S and across the globe from a historical perspective. In response to the gathering and the Monterey Park shooting, Emily Hellqvist ’24 said, “While some students shared their feelings revolving around the issue, I think some of the Asian students there, including myself, wanted more answers as to what really happened. The only thing we knew at the time was that the gunman was Asian, and he had opened fire in a predominantly Asian community. This piece of information led to curiosity as to whether or not this tragedy was a hate crime and an interesting discussion ensued. For me at least, it illustrated another example of the deep-rooted gun violence the U.S. faces.”

This year’s celebrations highlighted the diversity of cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year, and encouraged all community members to enjoy the festivities.

Aaliyah Wang is a arts editor for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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