Celebrating Lunar New Year at The International Preschools

lunar-new-year-2017The observance of holidays from around the world has long been a tradition here at The International Preschools.  This week, each of the three locations commemorated Lunar New Year with school-wide celebrations on Friday, January 27th.  The holiday, celebrated in most Asian countries, is also called Chinese New Year and honors a different animal in a 12-year cycle.  2017 is the “Year of the Rooster.”

A scene from Karen Katz’ book about Chinese New Year, where the child and her grandmother are preparing for the New Year’s Eve dinner.

At IPS, Lunar New Year is incorporated into the curriculum through our holiday/culture share, an ongoing year-long unit.  Parents and families are invited into the classrooms to teach the children about a holiday that is celebrated in their home.  Many families that celebrate Lunar New Year visit the classrooms to teach about different aspects of the holiday, which often includes the lucky color of red.  Some of these practices include: giving children red envelopes with money inside for good luck; hanging red lanterns around the home; and enjoying a special New Year’s Eve dinner with family.  To introduce the children to Lunar New Year, many classrooms will read books about the holiday such as My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz, Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin, and The Runaway Wok:  A Chinese New Year Tale by Yin Chang Compestine.

Children at the 76th Street location fed the lion red envelopes, in keeping with the Lunar New Year tradition of scaring away evil spirits, at the school-wide celebration.

Lunar New Year is celebrated by the IPS staff and students with a special “lion dance” that takes place at each location.  A “lion” visits the gym and dances to drum-based music. During the dance, the students will “feed” the lion red envelopes; according to tradition, the lion/spirits are afraid of loud noises, the color red, and fire, so doing so will keep everyone free of evil.

Happy Lunar New Year to all from The International Preschools!

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