The morning air of February 10th carried the scant of a brand new year. At least, for the Chinese residents of Montgomery County.
February 10th was Chinese New Year, one of the most important and celebrated holidays in China and for Chinese immigrants abroad. With the growth of Chinese communities in Maryland, the holiday has been integrated into our county’s vibrant culture. Many shopping centers around the DC metropolis, such as Lake Forest Mall (bi-weekly program organized by Chinese Culture and Community service Center), held lively performances featuring traditional lion and dragon dances, martial arts demonstrations, art & craft workshops, and classic board games. Many MCPS students participated in these celebrations as performers, volunteers, and spectators.
“We take pride in our heritages, and we wanted to illustrate how elements of vastly different arts can diffuse into each other to produce something even more beautiful,” says Claudia Hendrick of Richard Montgomery High School, who, along with other members of the Chinese Honor Society, showcased a neo-classical Chinese dance at Lake Forest Mall. Before the performance, the crew gave introductions about the origins of the dance in Chinese, English, and Spanish.
Other notable events in Montgomery County include the Rockville Lunar New Year Parade-and-Street Festival, which included an outdoor fair and spectacular performances presented by Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese communities. In addition, thirteen branches of the Montgomery public Libraries hosted a gamut of programs including Chinese shadow puppets and calligraphy.
A few MCPS schools also joined the bandwagon of revelers. At Wootton High School, the PTA held a Lunar New Year Staff Appreciation feast, during which many traditional and home-made Asian dishes were served. I was fortunate to have witnessed the celebration at my school and taste some delicious entrees. Particularly, handfuls of elementary schools organized school-wide celebrations that served both educational and recreational purposes.
“It is important to note that Chinese New year is not just for the “Chinese”; many other Asian cultures use the lunar calendar as well. As a result, our celebrations are actually serving a large pool of students” says Mrs. Kao, a parent in the Sherwood High School community.
Wear red and eat dumplings, and happy year of the Snake!
Article by Shannon Jin, MoCo Student staff writer
Photo: members of the Richard Montgomery High School National Chinese Honor Society performing Kung-fu Fan at Lake Forest mall. Performers include Claudia Henderick, Dylao Gao, Gerry Zhang, Suzanne Xu, and Kathy Wang. The performance was organized by Mrs. Patricia Smith, Chinese teacher and NCHS sponsor at RMHS.