Mesita Elementary School, one of the few schools in the region to include Mandarin Chinese in its dual-language program, celebrated the the Chinese New Year Friday with song, dance and lessons about its origins and customs.
The students donned authentic Chinese garb or clothing in red – the color of the Chinese festival – for the school’s official celebration of the Year of the Rat. Restaurant Pho Tre Bien kicked off the festival with their traditional Lion Dance team, preforming for the kids to many oohs and aahs.
“The kids here are curious and very interested in learning Mandarin – not just the language but culture,” said Yan Liang, Mesita’s Chinese exchange teacher. “The activities will involve kids in the Chinese environment. It’s good way for them to get more involved in another language.”
The event also included a lesson on the Year of the Rat, which is one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Liang described rats as smart and quick witted.
“If you are 12, 24, 36 then it’s the year of your animal,” she said. “You’ll wear something red to bring good luck to you.”
Third grader Ramon Aguirre liked that the Chinese New Year traditionally brings families from far and away to come together to celebrate.
“The Chinese New Year is peaceful and brings good luck to you,” he said. “I liked that I got to celebrate the Chinese New Year at my school.”
Zoe Misic, wearing a traditional Chinese dress, danced and sang with her class. She enjoyed the whole celebration and pointed out the wishing trees set around the school for students to make their wishes for the year.
“It’s fun that you get to sing and wear pretty dresses,” she said. “And that you get to hang a wish on a tree and that it might come true.”
Story by Reneé De Santos | Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD