Chinese classes ring in the New Year with interactive festival

March 2, 2010 — by

Freshman Kelly Liu stood ready against her opponent with chopsticks in one hand and a bowl containing three potstickers in the other. After freshman Brandon Chien’s signal, she quickly devoured the food in a race to win milk tea.

“I played in a friendly competition against Patrick Pan and it was pretty fun because I won against a guy,” said Liu. “Even though it wasn’t a traditional Chinese game, it got everyone involved because everyone likes food and the dumplings were actually good.”

This simplistic game, run by freshmen Andrew Chen, Cynthia Chen, Brandon Chien, Ben Everett, Minsoo Kim and Stanley Yip, was part of the Chinese celebration of the culture’s first holiday of the lunar year, hosted by the Chinese classes during the week of Feb. 8 at lunch. February 14 marked the beginning of the year of the tiger, the third animal in the 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.

The Chinese teachers, Mariam Fan and Sara Tseng, assigned their classes to create a game that relates to Chinese culture.

“The assignment was designed for [the students] to experience what a New Years celebration would be like if they were in China or Taiwan, so they can learn more about Chinese culture,” said Tseng. “We put Chinese New Years decorations up in the classrooms so there was more of a New Year’s atmosphere.”

The students who attended the festival enjoyed the wide variety of games and prizes, while also learning more about the holiday.

“There were a lot of really interesting games this year. I mainly went to the games that seemed fun or had good prizes, such as candy,” said sophomore Alyssa Wu. “There were a lot of people at the festival and everyone looked like they were having fun.”

For the Chinese students, creating and being in charge of their own booths was also a fun experience.

“We did ‘pin the tail on the tiger.’ The prize was candy if you lose, and cookies if you win. A lot of people pinned the tail on me,” said sophomore Kelsey Owyang. “It was fun and a lot more people came than I expected.”

Many students celebrate Chinese New Year at home as well, receiving money in red envelopes and visiting with relatives. The festival lasted 15 days and is similar in significance to Christmas for many Chinese families.

“I usually get together with family and we eat a lot of good food, including duck. The kids receive red envelopes [with money in them] from the elders,” said Owyang. “Besides birthdays and Christmas, I think [Chinese New Year] is the best holiday.”