Academics
Lower School
Curriculum

Lunar New Year Celebrations Provide Good Luck Wishes

What excitement there was when the first day of the Lunar New Year was celebrated in the Lower School with performances by the Bo Law Kung Fu School!
Beaming smiles on the faces of the boys as the lion dance moved throughout the audience said it all. Waving lai see packets for the lions to gobble up and feeding the lions lettuce while confetti exploded out of pretend firecrackers were all part of the festivities. Traditional kung fu demonstrations followed with the brandishing of sabers, the fast twirling of a staff and the coordinated movements of the team of Kung Fu instructors and practitioners.
 
The kindergarten classes each had their own special Lunar New Year celebrations with parents coming in to share some of their traditions for the holiday.
 
On February 8, KHP celebrated the Lunar New Year with the help of Sean’s mother, his grandmother, and his little sister. Dressed in a stunning hanbok, Ms. Park explained that the outfits they were wearing were typically worn in Korea for the Lunar New Year celebrations until fairly recently.  Ms. Park showed the boys pictures of traditional Korean New Year activities and foods that are enjoyed at this celebratory time. She described the long thin rice cakes served on the first morning of the Lunar New Year, which are shaped this way to represent long life. Other traditions in Korea for the holiday include: bowing when greeting someone; kite flying; top spinning; Yut Nori, a board game; and Jegichagi a game with a paper jegi, which looks like a shuttlecock, that the player tries to keep aloft with their feet. KHP boys were fortunate to get to try out Yut Nori and Jegichagi. They also learned calligraphy, which Sean’s grandmother demonstrated. Then, each boy was given his own fan to paint using traditional brushes to which Sean’s grandmother added the boys’ names in Korean. After rotating through all the activities the boys enjoyed a delicious treat of Korean fried sweet rice puffs.
 
On February 16, In KBM the boys learned about the history of the Lunar New Year from Brandon’s mom and dad and Jack L’s mom.  They explained that the occasion was first celebrated 4000 years ago. It is a time for families to get together to share food and games.  They read the book Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan explaining that mandu (Korean word for dumplings) are a popular food for the holidays. The class talked about the Chinese zodiac, discovering the traits of the dog, this year’ sign. Each boy was then given a lantern to decorate, before adding a battery-powered tealight. They learned that Koreans hang the lanterns up to scare away evil spirits. The boys also played a game that had them tackle the challenge of chopsticks by picking up pompoms. A treat of delicious dumplings at the end went down very well!
 
Adam and his dad began the KGT celebration by showing the boys images of some of the traditions that make up the Lunar New Year holiday. Mr. Lin explained that fireworks, dragons, lanterns, and bright colors for decoration, along with time spent with family, have become synonymous with the occasion. The boys then delighted in trying some absolutely delicious dumplings made by Jack’s grandmother. Learning that chopsticks were invented 5000 years ago, the boys were thrilled to try their hand at using them to pick up pompoms and placing them on a number placemat. Starting with the larger pompoms, the boys moved quickly on to picking up smaller ones as they mastered the skill. Once finished with the game the boys could begin work on their Chinese zodiac activity book that they would be taking home with them in their goody bags.
 
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
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Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.