Flint Hill celebrates Chinese New Year


Photo Credit: Ms. Jia

Chinese language students take a field trip on Chinese New Year to the Confucious Institute at George Mason University to learn about Chinese customs and culture.

By Peter Heller, Staff Writer

Chinese New Year is an important holiday for all Chinese people, as it marks the pending arrival of spring. It is the equivalent of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled into a single holiday. Based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar, it is one of the most popular holidays in the world, with over 1.5 billion people celebrating it. In the Chinese zodiac, every year is assigned one of twelve animals.  This Chinese New Year, falling on February 16, marks the end of the Year of the Rooster and the beginning of the Year of the Dog.

During Chinese New Year, people often return home and join their families, which causes the day before Chinese New Year to be the biggest travel date in the world.

The holiday is also packed with traditions. Some of the major ones include setting off fireworks, decorating with the colors of red and gold, spending time with and eating a special dinner with your family, and giving gifts of money that are wrapped inside little red envelopes. A modern addition to these traditions is watching television with your family. Currently, the most watched television broadcast in history is the Chinese New Year television special. When it was first broadcast in 2014, it had more than 750 million viewers, which is more than 50 times the number of people who watch the Super Bowl.

The Flint Hill Chinese department planned several events to mark the special holiday, including a town meeting presentation, a field trip for Chinese language students to the Confucius Institute at George Washington University, and offering Chinese snacks to students after school Friday.

“We are going to be making a town meeting presentation [for Chinese New year],” explained Flint Hill Upper School Chinese Teacher Carol Jia, “as well as letting students come in [to the Chinese classroom in the Language hallway] after school to make dumplings, try calligraphy or drink some tea.”

The purpose is to introduce students to other cultures and traditions, as well as educate them on the lives of some of their fellow students.

“Chinese New Year is important to us because the family is at the heart of Chinese culture,” said Jia. “Chinese New Year is a holiday based on family, and it is at the center of Chinese culture…It’s also the oldest holiday in the world because it dates back to the Shang Dynasty [1,500 BC].”

When asked why the cultural presentations are important, sophomore Alina Wang said, “We really like the town meeting presentations because a lot of us are separated from our families, so that helps to not feel as lonely because we can celebrate it with the community here.”

Her sentiments were echoed by sophomore Will Chu.

“It’s important for us to remember the traditions and our home culture,” he said.

Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in the world. It is the world’s largest and oldest holiday and carries a long and rich history with it. As a significant population of our community has origins in China, it is important for us to recognize and celebrate it.