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Celebrating the Year of the Dragon: ICC's Lunar New Year Event

By Manal Rashid

Lunar New Year marks the beginning of a new year based on the lunisolar calendar. This year marks the Year of the Dragon, which represents strong and independent individuals who yearn for support and love. For the holiday, those who celebrate typically invite extended relatives to join them at a reunion dinner where they exchange red envelopes and prepare hot pot. 

New Hyde Park has taken on its own Lunar New Year traditions, with the International Culture Club taking full action to recognize the holiday. On February 9, the club hosted a party to celebrate with food, calligraphy and performances, along with a chance for three contenders to win a Kung Fu Tea gift card. With their second annual Lunar New Year party, the ICC officers hope to showcase the significance of the holiday.

Source by Linda Cheung

ICC's co-presidents Aparna Shibu and Angelina Alias showcase their hard work in setting up the Lunar New Year event and celebrating with members from the Sunny Chinese Center.

“As both an officer and member of ICC, I love planning and looking forward to the cultural events at our school. It's not only a time to make fun memories, but also to learn about the different cultures showcased in our school,” ICC co-president Aparna Shibu said. “With Lunar New Year celebrations approaching, students like me were able to talk with those who celebrate and even reach out to our community, like the Sunny Chinese Center, where performers give us more insight into Chinese culture through the art of Guzheng, Bian Lian and calligraphy.” 

Along with the food and performances, the officers also wish to leave a lasting impact on the students. 

“Just like every other cultural event that ICC puts forward every month, we want to broaden the perspectives that NHP students have,” ICC co-president Angelina Alias said. “We’ve been pretty consistent as a board in finding unique and interactive ways to spread specific cultures to each student and our Chinese lunar year event is going to be one great example of that.”

“For our upcoming Lunar New Year party, I am most looking forward to our collaboration with the Sunny Chinese Center Association,” co-vice president Ashley Pulinthanathu said. “We had the fortunate opportunity to work with them last year, where they showcased some beautiful cultural performances. This year as well, they will be presenting new traditional pieces, which I’m excited to see. It’s so beautiful when our school, as a diverse community itself, is able to learn and appreciate a rich cultural holiday.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Students enjoy the various activities ICC's Lunar New Year event provides.

Furthermore, the event has helped achieve the goals of the club for this year.

“The Lunar New Year event...contributes to ICC’s goals of community building, cultural representation, and inclusivity,” ICC adviser Ms. Mei-Chan said. “The event is meant to foster a sense of community and belonging among members by celebrating together and showcase the diversity of the club by highlighting the customs and traditions of countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year. Moreover, the event promotes inclusivity by inviting members from diverse backgrounds to participate and share their experiences.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Traditional dancers from the Sunny Chinese Center captivate students through their performance of Bian Lian.

During the event, traditional dancers from the Sunny Chinese Center performed Bian Lian, a dramatic style of dance where performers change masks during the recital. They performed along the guzheng, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument. The dancers also recited a Dragon Dance, a dance often performed during Lunar New Year to ward off evil spirits. Along with these activities, students indulged in Chinese delicacies and practiced traditional calligraphy.

Ultimately, the goals of the ICC are to help celebrate cultural diversity at NHP, and their recent Lunar New Year celebration was a success in doing so.


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