Happy Chinese New Year!

Diego Mendoza, Guest Writer

Editor’s Note:  Diego Mendoza,  sophomore Mandarin student, read this announcement after morning prayer on February 19 as a special salute to the Chinese New Year.

On behalf of our Chinese exchange students and Mandarin classmates I would like to share with you some important information about a very special holiday that begins today, February 19.

Like most of the world, the Chinese celebrate the New Year. Here in America we celebrate the New Year on the 31st of December and the first of January. Our celebration of the New Year lasts only the night of the 31st and the morning of the 1st, during which time we invite family and friends over for parties, go to dances, watch the ball lowering in Times Square, make a lot of noise, and other such related activities. It is a celebration of hope and joy.

The Chinese, in China, and throughout the world, celebrate Chinese New Year according to a different calendar called the lunar calendar. It measures a year according to the moon and its cycles, and it’s also based on the changes of nature of four seasons. So Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival, which marks the beginning of the new spring and the end of winter.

This year the holiday begins today, February 19, 2015, and the traditional celebrations usually last for 15 days.

Some traditional Chinese New Year celebration customs include:

 Wearing bright and cheerful colors, especially red for good luck in the New Year.

 Having a reunion dinner New Year’s Eve and spending much time with family.

 Eating special foods that have been prepared with great compassion and love.

 Many New Year greetings are shared for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

 Especially well-known is the giving of lucky money that is wrapped in red paper.

 Firecrackers and fireworks

 The Dragon Dance and Lion Dance that were known to ward off evil and demonstrate courage and strength are performed.

 And the hanging of colorful and beautiful lanterns are seen everywhere…this custom traces its origin over 2000 years.

Today, February 19, 2015 we push our horizons beyond the borders of the United States and acknowledge the beauty of family, friendship, hope, prosperity and peace as our Chinese brothers and sisters ring in the New Year.

Over the next few days take some time and read more information provided in our school library, talk with one of our 18 Chinese exchange students and learn something new– or even quiz any one of our Mandarin students.

Our world is full of wonderful customs and people…how fortunate we are to have so much right in front of us.

In the end, I want to say to all of you:  Happy New Year! Guo nian hau!

Wish you a prosperous New Year! Gong xi fa cai!