Tzu Chi Elementary School Celebrates Chinese New Year in Monrovia

By Terry Miller

Tzu Chi Elementary School celebrated Chinese New Year on Friday, Jan. 25 from 3-4 p.m. Both preschool and elementary students were together for the celebration.

Based on the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year normally falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, and as with many festivals throughout the world, it is believed that how you spend the start of the year affects its outcome. Although it seems that some of the respect for old traditions is slowly on the decline with the younger generation in urban areas, there are a still a number of traditional practices that are followed during this joyful time.

The Tzu Chi mission is to advance a global humanistic culture through education, and they do so through schools and programs that balance developing the mind and opening the heart. Their preschools and elementary schools offer a holistic curriculum that supports spiritual, intellectual, physical, social and creative development, while cultivating integrity and social responsibility. Additionally, their camps (through International Affairs Department) and character education program nurture positive character traits and self-esteem, as they awaken the conscience, instill environmental awareness and provide opportunities to develop interpersonal skills.

The Wild Rose campus was a sea of colorful costumes last Friday afternoon as the children from Great Love Pre and Elementary schools participated in songs and the traditional Lion Dance. Here, students made their own ‘Lion’s head’ and paraded around the school to the delight of parents and family members of the children.

The lion dance has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is performed on many occasions such as various festivals and celebrations like the New Year. The lion – a symbol of power, wisdom and good fortune – chases away evil spirits and brings happiness, longevity, and good luck.

Additionally, the celebration included the traditional offerings in which the children poured their offerings into one large pot called the Bamboo Bank.

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