Oak Park celebrates Chinese New Year

Students welcome in the Year of the Rat

Students celebrate the Chinese New Year on the Great Lawn. Activities included traditional food, arts and crafts and a group dance performed by Chinese language students.

Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas shut down the United States; restaurants close and people around the country gather to celebrate. On the other side of the world, however, China carries on like any other day. On Jan. 25, though, all 1.39 billion citizens dedicate the day to welcoming in the newest Chinese calendar. Throughout the week, a variety of activities ensue, all with the goal of “reinventing themselves” for the new year. Activities range from cleaning the house or setting off fireworks to cast off bad luck.

At Oak Park High School, Chinese teacher Sherry Hung has worked to instill an understanding of the holiday into all of her students. On the 25th, students had the opportunity to join Hung and her Chinese 1, 2, 3, and AP Chinese students on the Great Lawn to enjoy food, crafts and dancing.

“We [had] a couple different tables with different cultural Chinese activities and performances from a bunch of different groups,” senior Chinese IV student Spencer Driggs said.

Tables included Chinese meals, lantern making, and drawing traditional Chinese characters. Elsewhere, there were items displayed such as dragon costumes alongside a variety of different Chinese instruments.

“We want[ed] to appreciate all the cultures that belong to the students that attend Oak Park High School and acknowledge them in our community,” junior Chinese 3 student Nathan Prince said.

Finally, the celebration concluded with a group dance by the Chinese students to welcome the Year of the Rat.

“It’s a time to really get to know a different culture and just have some fun with friends,” said Driggs.