Junior School students creating shapes with Senior School students

Senior School Welcomes Lunar New Year with Junior School Buddies

by Ian Chan and Eu-Rway Chew

Chinese New Year is a celebration that marks the beginning of the lunar calendar. Despite its name, it is celebrated outside of China. In countries like Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, Chinese New Year is a public holiday.

Lasting for 15 days, the festival is characterized by an array of traditions, such as cleaning the house to sweep away the previous year’s bad luck and launching loud fireworks to scare away evil spirits. Central to the celebrations is the reunion dinner on New Year's Eve, where relatives and friends gather to share traditional dishes, exchange blessings, and usher in good fortune. For younger participants, these reunions are often remembered as a time to receive red envelopes from relatives.

For Eu-Rway, these gatherings were that time of the year to perform music for relatives. First, a minute on the cello, followed by a sonata on the piano. After the performance, relatives would hand him red envelopes filled with money so that his parents could “save it for later.”

For me, these gatherings were often the time of the year where all of my relatives would gather and share a meal together on New Year’s Eve, because nothing mattered more in life than family and good food.

These different traditions meant that we were both excited to share this special time of the year with the JK to Grade 3 students down at the Junior School last week. 30 Senior School students departed for the Junior School at 9 am to share this special holiday through various activities such as arts and crafts.

Eu-Rway and I were in charge of a Kindergarten class. Mrs. Mao introduced us all as boarding students because we all thought it’d be so cool for the kids to see people who didn’t live in Victoria. As such, Eu-Rway ecstatically introduced himself as a boarder from Timmis House, despite being a day student.

We sat down on the carpet in a circle and got to learn the names of all the kids. As the activity was progressing, the first few dragon puppets were finished. The kids scarily blew the flames of the dragons at us. In no time it was recess, where they showed off their high-tech snack boxes and asked us what Grade 12 was like, while we tried to convince them that we had to redo Kindergarten because we couldn’t count to 10.

Despite the slight drizzle, we rushed out to play with the Junior School kids. This time we got to meet kids all the way up to Grade 5!

Senior School students sign autographs for Junior School students

While talking to a Grade 5 student wearing a traditional Chinese dress, Eu-Rway recognized her as a student who came up to the Senior School for a Simon Ibell activity. She recognized Eu-Rway as the jokester who accidently broke two chairs at the All-School Christmas assembly. Out of nowhere, everyone started surrounding Eu-Rway and I, asking for our autographs.

Aren’t children lovely?

Through this activity, everyone got to experience the essence of Lunar New Year. We witnessed the inherent curiosity that children possessed, which allowed us to share our cultures. We hope the Junior School students had lots of fun learning about this holiday, because all of us here at the Senior School did. And that’s what this entire holiday is about: experiencing the wonders of this world together as a community.


by Cindy Chen

Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year was always a celebration to my family that holds an important place in our lives. Both of my parents immigrated from China and arrived here in the early 2000s. During this large time of transition for them, there was rarely anything that could bring them a piece of home. Yet, as I grew up there was always something that felt unique about Lunar New Year celebrations. Whether it was the warm smell of dumplings on a dinner table or the unanimous experience of four-hour-long WeChat calls with relatives, Lunar New Year was always a time to remember.

My family comes from Beijing and Shenyang so our celebrations were relatively similar yet I never could grasp the concept until a few years ago. We never had a ‘set tradition’ either. For as long as I could remember, memories of watching the live Lunar New Year broadcast and ‘helping’ my grandma make dumplings is what fills my mind when someone mentions the holiday. Although I did more harm than good when helping my grandma, the main aspect of this holiday that will always stand out is that I was always with my family. That was our tradition. Family.

As a Lifer at SMUS, meaning I’ve been here since Kindergarten, I watched as the school’s Chinese New Year traditions grow. For the longest time, I never expected anyone outside my family to celebrate this holiday either. Yet, when I saw the red lanterns and couplets hung up in my Kindergarten classroom, it transported me back to my home at Chinese New Year. My tiny thermos I brought for lunch was filled with dumplings and it was almost as if I was back home. From presentations in assembly to lion dances, SMUS became my second family. This year we went to Chinatown and made dumplings to celebrate Lunar New Year.

With over 1.5 billion people celebrating Lunar New Year, each family has a unique process of celebrating. My family as a whole is from China yet our traditions are not the same as the next. From lion dances to making traditional foods, every country celebrates differently. Regardless of the celebrative differences, the crux of this holiday still lies in family, and being together. Near or far, family and love is a celebration that connects us all.

Red Envelopes and Lion Dances

by Richard Brambley

Students look on as a lion dances past

The Middle School recently celebrated Lunar New Year through two whole-school events. On Friday, February 9, our Grade 8 Mandarin students presented an extraordinary assembly celebrating the cultural meaning and history of Lunar New Year. Each student received a little red envelope upon arrival and gained a better understanding of the traditions of those who celebrate Lunar New Year.

On Wednesday, February 14, we were fortunate to welcome the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club, led by current Middle School parent Daniel Low. This club performs traditional Chinese lion-dancing, which celebrates and provides those in attendance good luck and drives away evil spirits on auspicious occasions. In addition to Mr. Low, three current Middle School students are members of this club and assisted in the performance. It was a fantastic exhibition of music and dance, and there was no shortage of questions from our students, curious to learn more about the meaning and significance of this art form.