Asian Alliance and the Multi Racial Affinity Groups Celebrate Lunar New Year

The Asian Alliance and Multi Racial Affinity Group brought the celebration of Lunar New Year to the Heller Auditorium stage last week. Celebrated by many Asian countries, the holiday marks the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar.

The presentation began with a lion dance performed by the Hoang Phuc Lion Dance Association of Chicago. The lion dance, which involves two dancers—one operating the head of the lion, the other the rear end—intends to bring good luck and fortune during the new year.

Next, senior Naomi Geller explained the concept of Lunar New Year and introduced her mother, Christina Geller, who told the story of how the 12 animals that represent each year, commonly known as the Chinese Zodiac, came to be. She noted that this is the year of the dragon, often associated with luck. Those born in a dragon year are considered driven and full of confidence and assertiveness, which is why emperors often referred to themselves as “dragons.”

Members of several affinity groups talked about different countries that celebrate Lunar New Year and their traditions. In addition to the lion dance, China celebrates with gifts of money in red envelopes, dim sum and a lantern festival. Korea acknowledges the holiday with special food dishes they offer to ancestors, festive attire and fun games, while Thailand commemorates the occasion with a water festival that signifies the washing away of the past year. The Morning Ex ended with a fun round of trivia about each of the different traditions.

Geller was thrilled to bring this presentation to many students. “Growing up, my mom and I hosted Lunar New Year presentations every year for my Lower and Intermediate School classes. When I was a junior, I knew that I wanted to do the same thing, but on a larger scale. My goal for this presentation was to educate the student body at Parker about a holiday that is so pivotal to Chinese-American culture. I also wanted to educate everyone on Asian culture as a whole, which is why I had the goal of showcasing as many cultures as I could! I really hope that the MX got the student body excited for the Lunar New Year and educated them along the way,” Geller said.

Parker thanks these students for informing the community about such an important and exciting cultural event. Happy Lunar New to all those who celebrate!

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