Chinese New Year at LAHS


Ria Kohli

Dumpling making in the mandarin classes

Through the end of this week, Los Altos High School’s Mandarin department is leading the school’s celebration of Chinese New Year. Celebrations include various cultural events and decorations in the quad and throughout the school.

This year, Chinese New Year was Sunday, January 22. It lasts for two weeks and is one of the most important festivals in China, but it’s also celebrated globally. Historically, Chinese New Year was about celebrating the harvest, but now, it’s a time to reunite with friends and family and commemorate the onset of the next year. 

Mandarin teacher Connie Chen has planned the annual on-campus celebrations for the Lunar New Year since 2017 — celebrations that include schoolwide decorations and the honoring of tradition.

“Over the next week, you will see a lot of red in the quad,” Chen said.“The Chinese classes will decorate the quad and put up red envelopes, red lanterns and Chinese couplets that have lucky phrases on them.”

Throughout this week, activities such as dumpling making, Kung Fu, Chinese yo-yo and calligraphy will be happening during the school day.

Although Chinese New Year is not celebrated at every school in America, Chen believes that it’s important to observe the holiday at LAHS.

“It is a big part of students’ home culture, and there is a growing population of the Asian student body at LAHS,” Chen said. “We don’t just teach the language, we also expose students to Chinese culture.”

For students in the Mandarin program like freshman Ava Randall, celebrating the Lunar New Year on campus has exposed her to a new cultural celebration. In class, she made dumplings and cards. She also learned what people do for the Lunar New Year, like cleaning their houses, buying new clothes, wearing red and striving to start the new year on the right foot.

For other students, like sophomore Jasmine Cheng, who recently moved to Los Altos from China, Chinese New Year celebrations have helped them celebrate their culture — even on the other side of the world.

“These celebrations make me feel very included because America has been such a different environment for me, and sometimes it’s hard to fit into this new place,” she said. “This Chinese New Year celebration made me feel more at home.”