SCV Chinese School celebrates year of the rat

Zheng Lin Diao, a teacher at the SCV Chinese School reads from a children's book at the school's Chinese New Year Celebration held at the Newhall Library Saturday. January 18, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.
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The Santa Clarita Valley Chinese School hosted their annual Chinese New Year celebration with food, games and crafts at the Old Town Newhall Library Saturday afternoon.

This Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is celebrated for 15 days, starting on Jan. 25 and continues until Feb. 8. This year celebrates the year of the rat, which according to Chinese fortune, means children born this year will have curious and talkative personalities.

Dax Seki, age 4, participates in a chopstick relay race at the SCV Chinese School’s Chinese New Year celebration at the Newhall Library. January 18, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The celebration has been held at various locations since the establishment of the SCV Chinese School in 2009, said Jinghong Li, Principal of the school. This year was the first year of it being held at the library.

“This is a cultural celebration,” said Li, “People all over the world celebrate Chinese New Year, even if they are not Chinese.”

Diana Anderson sits with her son Tommy, age 7, as he participates in a crafts activity at the SCV Chinese School’s Chinese New Year celebration at the Newhall Library Saturday afternoon. January 18, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

To begin the celebration, children and their parents were given a lesson on how to greet others in Chinese. The phrases “hello,” “Happy New Year,” and “goodbye” were taught to those who didn’t already speak Chinese.

After the lesson, children were able to partake in culture-themed activities that paid tribute to Chinese tradition, such as calligraphy, learning to play Mahjong tiles, learning basic martial arts and crafting Chinese lanterns.

A relay race was held, where children had to use chopsticks to take a cotton ball from a bowl on one side of the room, and place in the other bowl on the other side.

Alex Anderson, age 9, paints newly learned Chinese characters at the SCV Chinese School’s Chinese New Year Celebration at the Newhall Library Saturday afternoon. January 18, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The history of Chinese New Year and the significance of the year of the rat were discussed so children could develop an understanding of the celebration.

“We have this celebration so we can share cultural traditions and experiences,” said Li. “We’re not only here to have fun, but to learn as well.”

After the activities and lessons, parents and kids ended the celebration with a potluck lunch which consisted of traditional Chinese dishes and snacks.

Before concluding, everyone sang along to the Chinese New Year song.

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