Cornerstone students hosted a Chinese New Year celebration on February 9, 2019, that included three wonderful performances.
Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is one of the most important holidays of the year in the Chinese-speaking world. Our students celebrated the Year of the Pig with songs, dances, and skits. Over 200 students and their families attended our three performance sessions and enjoyed traditional Chinese food alongside the students' celebration.
The New Year performance opened with the Little Lambs preschool class singing "Xin Nian Hao," a traditional song. The Elephants preschool class then made a presentation on several holiday customs, such as decorating the house with spring couplets, lighting firecrackers, and watching or performing in lion dances. The Little Ducks preschool class introduced us to the symbolic meanings of sweet rice dumplings, rice cakes, and fish, commonly eaten in Chinese New Year's Eve dinners. Our Young Fives Pandas class shared the folktale of a beast named "Nian," whose story explains the origin of the New Year and the lunar calendar. The Little Angels class then described how Chinese families typically celebrate Spring Festival.
Next, the Hippo Kindergarten class put on a "Three Little Pigs" skit of adapted for Chinese New Year. They also sang the popular Chinese song "Ba Wu Er Tiao Qi Lai." The Squirrel class, a mixed 1st/2nd grade class, explained the auspicious meaning of steaming food for Chinese New Year's Eve dinners. They also performed a Chinese folk dance.
In the afternoon, our After School programs shared their performances. The Hummingbird and Bluebird Half Day Kindergarten classes taught us about the twelve Chinese zodiac animals and performed a dance called "Happy Little Pig," to celebrate the Year of the Pig. The Sunflower class shared their understanding about the meaning of happiness. The Little Car class expressed their appreciation for their parents by reciting a poem and performing with bamboo clapper instruments. The Earth class taught us how the custom of eating rice cakes for Chinese New Year began over 2,000 years ago. The Kylin class took us on a journey to important cities in China. The Phoenix class presented a cooking competition and shared different types of Chinese food with us. Finally, the Dragon class acted in a short play called "Borrowing the Plantain Fan," adapted from the classical Chinese novel A Journey to the West.
The campus was decorated in "Good Fortune" signs, red envelopes, dragon banners, and other beautiful crafts made by our students. Cornerstone parents were invited to participate in interactive games during the breaks between performances, which included learning lucky Chinese words and guessing the meaning of pictographic Chinese characters. We were thrilled to continue our parent engagement opportunities the following Tuesday night with a presentation on supporting children's bilingual development.
We are so proud of our students' growth and enthusiasm, and their ability to apply their language learning across multiple academic contexts. The New Year performances were a great reminder of our commitment to cultivating positive student attitudes towards Chinese language, culture, and customs.