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Draper Journal

Draper Elementary students to celebrate Chinese New Year in a COVID-19 safe manner

Feb 16, 2021 02:29PM ● By Julie Slama

In 2018, then Draper Elementary first-graders performed “Jasmine Flower” with traditional fans, but this year’s annual Chinese New Year’s celebration will likely have them sharing their singing the song in their classroom seats on video. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

At Draper Elementary, a long-standing tradition has been gathering in the multipurpose room celebrating Chinese language and culture for Chinese New Year.

This year, the school’s Chinese New Year celebration will look different. Each dual immersion classroom will still perform, but it will be recorded. Then, all the recordings will be edited together and shared on Feb. 16 in the classrooms. It also will be made available to online students and parents, said Cyndi Lin, fourth-grade teacher who is coordinating the production.

“Because of COVID, we needed to change the platform,” she said. “And with social distancing, we will keep it simple and have students sing a song or perform in their own seats.”

As of press deadline, the program was still being finalized, but Lin anticipated first-graders singing “Jasmine Flower,” third-graders stacking cups, fourth-graders performing the lion dance and fifth-graders reciting Chinese poetry. She said second-grade, which usually performs with fans, is brainstorming what will work since they need to social distance.

In addition to the assembly, classrooms usually have a celebration as well.

“This year, instead of having the traditional dumpling tasting, we may buy traditional Chinese rice crackers, which are individually wrapped,” she said.

They also will distribute red envelopes to all the students. In it, will be a piece of Chinese candy. This year, Lin said they may also include pretend money.

“It is a big holiday for Chinese culture—as big as Christmas. We don’t exchange gifts, but the kids get red envelopes with money in them. It’s how we express love to offspring and teach them how to manage money so we may do it with fake money this year to teach that lesson,” she said.

Students also will learn more about the holiday and the Year of the Ox.

“Those who are born this year, the Year of the Ox, will learn its importance to people shown in characteristics like hard work, patience and kindness. We’ll also talk about the importance of the holiday,” Lin said.

Crafts are also another part of the celebration. Students will be learning the practice of paper cutting and be able to decorate the school and their homes. Fifth-graders also will practice Chinese calligraphy writing the words “spring” and “happiness.” 

She added that students also may be able to make an ox mask to celebrate the Year of the Ox.

“It’s important that students celebrate since they are learning the Chinee language to get to know the culture,” Lin said. “It will help them get to know more about the language and understand it better. It will make everyone happy to see the holiday spirit.”

Draper Elementary has held a new year celebration since the introduction of the dual immersion program in 2009-10.