Ross Celebrates the Chinese New Year

In honor of the Chinese New Year, the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, Ross Upper and Lower Schools organized a bevy of activities this week, from dumpling making to dragon dances.

Starting off the week, the Café served a special New Year menu of velvet corn soup, tea brined eggs, cod with mini bok choy, Hong Kong noodle stir fry, pork, chicken and vegetarian dumplings, fortune cookies, and clementines. Over the next few days, students taking Mandarin in grades 6–12 prepared dumplings in the Café using vegetable, pork, and chicken filling. Dumplings are a mainstay in the New Year’s feast; they represent prosperity because they look like golden ingots, which were used for money during the Ming Dynasty.

On February 13, grades 6–8 convened in Gandhi Hall for an official celebration. Students worked together to present a dragon dance, a tradition in Chinese culture. The dance team mimicked the movements of the dragon river spirit in an undulating fashion. Dragons are believed to represent power and dignity and bring good luck to people. This performance was followed by a zodiac race, which relates to the Chinese calendar and the 12-year cycle of animals (2013 is the Year of the Snake). Students in ESOL also performed a song, which was followed by a story by several eighth graders about the monster nian. According to Chinese mythology, this beast lives under the sea or in the mountains and comes out on or around the New Year to attack people. The color red is believed to ward it off.

Sixth grader Alexander Saunders presented a PowerPoint about the festive holiday, which is also known as the Lunar New Year because the Chinese calendar is based on the cycles of the moon. His classmates Caitlin Martin, Isabelle Rowe, and Rory Gallaher presented a PowerPoint on the Lantern Festival, where paper lanterns are lit to mark the end of the Lunar New Year. The school celebration concluded with a traditional Chinese ribbon dance performed by seventh graders Amanda Li, Carrie Wu, Kate Dong, and Ashley Liu.

At the Lower School, teacher June Chen made dumplings with the fourth and fifth graders in the Lower School Café. They made enough to serve the entire Lower School at lunch on Friday. Finally, the fifth graders built their own beautiful Chinese dragon and performed a dragon dance for the entire Lower School during their weekly assembly.