Published on February 16th, 2017 | by Dylan Ollivier


Chinese New Year at Samo

Although the Chinese New Year is one of the most prominent festivities in the world with over 1.4 billion people celebrating it worldwide, including many Samo students, it often goes with little mention here in Santa Monica.

Dean Zhang (’18) is one student here at Samo who celebrates the Chinese New Year.

“I celebrate the Chinese New Year the same as everyone else: my parents call everyone that they know and have on their contact list and lots of middle aged men and women show up,” Zhang said. “I’ve never met any of these people before.”

The party goes on for Zhang and his family.

“After the greetings, which take 30 minutes or more, the adults have a huge dinner where they share loving stories of how their kids are better than everyone else’s while the kids of the parents are forced into another room (preferably upstairs) and eat dinner,” Zhang said.

The food served during dinner is popular among people of every ages including Michael Shi (’18).

“The typical Chinese food consumed during the New Year consists of dumplings, fish and tangerines,” Shi said. “They are all special because they represent different aspects of life like happiness, prosperity and other things. The food is delicious.”

A specific type of pastry, the mooncake, is very appreciated among Chinese families.

“These mooncakes are a Chinese dessert only served on the New Year and Lunar Day,” Shi said. “Everyone of all ages love these moon cakes because they’re the only real dessert that most chinese families have; typically, chinese families do not have desserts.”

Along with mooncakes, the Chinese New Year also respects different traditions, such as the giving of hongbaos (red envelopes filled with money).

“During the holidays, adults give hongbaos to children, which are just red envelopes,” Zhang said. “It is mandatory for the adults to give to children, but the children don’t have to give back. The more you get, the better you behaved throughout the year.” Zhang said.

During the night, Zhang must always be on his best behavior.

“I must show my skills such as my ability to speak foreign languages, play instruments and succeed in school,” Zhang said.

Many were able to celebrate the Year of the Rooster at the Santa Monica Mall on Friday, Jan. 28, where there was featured entertainment such as the traditional Chinese Lion Dance, the Korean Fan Dance, a Chinese classical musical duo, stilt walkers and a Chinese Dough Art.

The celebration of the Chinese New Year even took place in Chinese teacher Nancy Wei’s classroom, where her students got to experience the holiday firsthand.

“We had a party for all students,” Wei said. “We organized a potluck and, with the help of the parents, were able to give hongbaos to all the students.”

The Chinese New Year is a time for family, unity, and love. Students of Samo and people from around the globe unite together in their celebration and immerse themselves in the Chinese culture in hopes of a happier future.


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