Montclair Celebrates Lunar New Year

Montclair Celebrates Lunar New Year
Posted on 02/04/2022

A couple of thousand families, community members and leaders gathered on the lawn of the Montclair Public Library to celebrate AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Montclair's first annual Lunar New Year event. The focus on Lunar New Year in Montclair Public Schools began when Vicky Chang, the district's Interim Supervisor of World Languages, was a Mandarin teacher at Nishuane and would incorporate the holiday into classrooms. AAPI formed as a grassroots effort last year to bring attention to the rise of anti-Asian hate. The group's first event was the community Lantern Festival. 

During Saturday's festivities, students, staff and administrators from Montclair's elementary, middle and high schools and Montclair Board of Education members participated in various activities and performances.

students perform   kids in parade  traditional Asian dance

Mandarin teachers  student volunteers  students dance on lawn

carrying dragon prop  students singing  students celebrate lunar new year

Schools have been celebrating Lunar New Year this month. Nishuane second graders created a Gallery Walk (below left). At Hillside, students created lanterns, played Tangram and explored traditional fan and ribbon dances.

lunar new year drawings  lunar new year bulletin board

lunar new year fan dance  playing tangram  lunar new year lanterns

At Bradford, grades K-5 watched a presentation that educated them on how different cultures celebrate the Lunar holiday. It entailed students performing the lion dance (Calvin & Carter Shiao, and Kyle Nguyen), and explaining the Korean culture and how they bow or greet people (Maddie Bethards). Students made lanterns, engaged in activities with the Lunar Zodiac Signs, and what they represent on the calendar, as well as some fun with chopsticks. All classes were given red envelopes, a Lunar New Year tradition,  with coins inside. They symbolize good wishes and luck for the New Year. "I would like to thank my parents who helped put these activities together and sent in so many beautiful items to put in the showcase (below)," said Principal Frances Aboushi. 

lunar new year showcase  lunar new year showcase

At the Feb. 2 Board of Education meeting, the Board passed a resolution adding Lunar New Year as a district holiday to the district calendar going forward. The resolution came as a response to a petition by students and community members requesting the recognition. 

Read more courtesy of Montclair Local.

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