H-F Students Celebrate 中国 新年 (Chinese New Year)


Yin Ding’s second period class walking around H-F’s north building with a ceremonial dragon.

Lailah Taylor, Staff Writer

Chinese New Year is a celebration of the New Year based on the lunar calendar. The holiday is celebrated in China and various places around the world where any Chinese people reside.

Each year, Chinese New Year falls on different dates. There are 12 animals that are cycled through each year, and these animals are referred to as the Chinese Zodiac signs. This year is the year of the Tiger, which began on Feb. 1. Most Chinese people are given 7-10 days off in China in order to celebrate the new year; celebrations ended on Feb.15.

Here at H-F, Mandarin teacher Yin Ding had her class celebrate in their own way.

“Every year, I usually involve my students making dumplings together in class, doing the paper cutting, singing new years songs, video calling my parents in China, playing mahjong, doing the dragon and lion dances on campus and writing Chinese fu in calligraphy brushes with red paper,” Ding said.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Ding’s class was unable to celebrate the way they had in previous years. Some of the same activities were done except for making dumplings and doing the dragon and lion dances on campus.

One of Ding’s students Amiel Kimsey, a junior, opened up about how it felt to celebrate Chinese New Year.

“I enjoyed participating in and learning about someone else’s culture, along with my other classmates,” said Kimsey.

Ding has had to make changes to the way she has celebrated on her own as well.

“Since I moved to the USA, I can no longer be physically together with my parents and sister. However, I facetime them on New Year’s Eve with my students,” Ding told.

Ding recalls the way she and others celebrated Chinese New Year back in Beijing.

“During the 15-day celebration, we have many customs for celebration, such as fireworks and cleaning the household on New Year’s Eve, giving red envelopes to children, wearing new clothes on New Year’s Day, eating dumplings, dragon dances, lions dances, lanterns, and flower exhibitions,” Ding said.

Ding explored the difference in ways in which Chinese New Year is celebrated in the U.S. rather than Asia.

“A big difference is that Chinese New Year is not recognized as an official holiday in the USA. I have to work during the Chinese New Year. Some parades in Chinatown or downtown Chicago for Chinese New Year are held, but in China, it’s more within each family, not for other people to have a look at how we celebrate. I guess the parades in Chicago are a way of trying to get more people to know about Chinese New Year in American culture,” vocalized Ding.

Chinese New Year is a very important aspect of Chinese culture. The holiday unites people with their loved ones and allows people to wish others and themselves good fortune and a great year.