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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

The Year of the Dragon: Lunar New Year celebration

Photography taken by Hannah Kim
Photography taken by Hannah Kim

On Feb. 10, 2024, a massive celebration erupted in China and across East Asia: the celebration of the Lunar New Year. According to the Lunar Calendar, which is dated to the moon’s phases, 2024 is the year of the dragon, alluding to a year of prosperity and happiness. On Feb. 9, 2024 at Centennial High School, students and teachers from across different counties participated in a festive Lunar New Year celebration that showcased cultural activities, food and performances.

Bright red and gold decorations of lanterns, character banners, zodiac art and firecrackers were plastered all over the walls as guests entered the building. Paper designs had a Chinese character that said “fu,” which means fortune or good luck for the new year. Typically in Chinese homes, those banners would be hung up in each house for the upcoming year. 

In the first hour, small tables filled with games were scattered across the room. There was a person in charge of each station, and the overall goal was to play all the games, earn stickers from each station and get a prize at the last table. Children went straight to participate as adults sat back and watched in glee.

Around 7 p.m., entrees and side dishes from Tea Horse Sichuan Bistro arrived and were set up by Centennial Chinese Honor Society students. There were both westernized and traditional Chinese dishes like chicken and broccoli, dumplings, fried rice, lao mian (lo mein), tang cu yu (sweet sour fish), white rice and much more. It was a joyous moment where everyone was able to sit down and enjoy a delicious meal together.

Ending the last hours of the celebration, there were a variety of performances ranging from singing to dancing by little kids to young adults. Baltimore International Academy, Centennial High School, Chinese Bridge Club in Maryland, Meade High School and the HCPSS StarTalk Program were all involved in the night’s event.

There was a round of three singing performances by Baltimore International Academy East Chinese Immersion group, whose members ranged in age from kindergarten to eighth grade, which then in the third round was joined by both Centennial and Meade High School for a singing and dancing performance. The audience was filled with awed grins and proud parents with cameras recording their children.

Then came Centennial’s Poetry Out Loud winners, who recited their winning speeches with strong emotional delivery for a powerful message conveyed to the audience members. The poetry was followed by another dance performance, this time by the Gina Chinese Dance Chamber. They fluttered across the stage, performing their beautiful Blossom Season Dance.

More performances passed through the night, including cross talks and trivias between the MCs who spoke in Chinese, an exciting yo-yo showcase and more dance performances from the high schoolers. Dancers had flowy outfits to emphasize their twirls and the use of fans as a main part of their moves.

As the event came to an end, one of the MCs, a junior at Centennial High School, Annabelle Mallios, announced that it had been “‘Nánwàng jīnxiāo,’ which fittingly translates to ‘Unforgettable Night.’ The strength and passion of each of our Chinese education programs truly lies within our dedicated teachers, so please join me in giving a warm welcome to this final performance.” All the teachers and students who were involved stepped up onto the stage, bringing a final goodbye to the wonderful Lunar New Year Event.


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About the Contributor
Hannah Kim, Copy Editor