January 31, 2020

Celebrating Lunar New Year

Oakwood students gathered on Monday, January 27 to celebrate the year of the rat with food, family presentations, and a jubilant performance by Immortals Lion Dance.

Festivities began at lunch on the secondary campus as our Asian affinity group served a range of pan-Asian dishes to hungry students. Then, with the sounds of drums filling the air, an energetic and mischievous lion danced through the old senior lot, stopping to wink and nuzzle spectators as he danced. The show continued with a martial arts demonstration showing both the skill and joyful energy of our guest performers. Teachers Phu Tranchi and Nechelle Wong concluded the event by thanking the dancers and wishing everyone a happy new year.

Later in the afternoon, the lion who wowed our secondary students laid sleeping outside the entrance to the elementary campus gymnasium. Inside, in the spirit of the new year celebration, students were encouraged to make a great noise and wake their slumbering guest. As drums once again rang out, students raucously welcomed their colorful visitor with cheers and dancing. After the lion settled to rest onstage, members of Immortals gave a quick lesson about how the mythology of the lion was developed to ward off evil spirits, composed of parts of different legendary animals, from unicorn to turtle and dragon to represent strength and prosperity.

Oakwood parents and guardians then took the stage to talk about how lunar new year was celebrated in each of their families, describing both what they shared and what was different in their respective Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese traditions.

As a finale to the day, the lion arose once more—this time to be fed. After describing how the word for lettuce in Mandarin was very close to the word for fortune, principal Denise Ross was invited onstage. With students cheering on, she placed a head of lettuce into the lion’s mouth. Very pleased, the dancer inside then stood upon his partner’s shoulders to stretch up towards the ceiling and unfurl a banner with a message of good wishes for the coming new year.