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West Celebrates Lunar New Year

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Kindergarten classes at West Elementary School celebrated the Lunar New Year with lessons and activities. Students explored the festival’s origin and traditions through various hands-on projects led by teachers Anne LaPenna, Michelle Spreckels and Chelsea Way.

This Lunar New Year, which represents the year of the Ox, took place on Feb. 12. Leading up to the day, students created and exchanged red envelopes that were filled with tokens to symbolize prosperity and happiness. Classes discussed the significance of the tokens, which are given in even numbers for good luck, as well as the meaning of the holiday.  They also decorated paper lanterns while learning about the Lantern Festival, which takes place on the 15th day of the lunar calendar’s first month, and dressed in red to symbolize happiness, wealth, and good fortune.

Ms. Spreckels’ classroom featured a “museum” of artifacts from China. Items included a fan, a parasol, scroll writing, silk scarves and authentic decorations. Students learned the phrase “Gung hay fat choy,” which conveys wishes for a happy new year, and enjoyed traditional Chinese music.