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The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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Wayland celebrates Lunar New Year

Wayland+residents+build+a+rainbow+dragon+craft+at+the+Lunar+New+Year+celebration+to+welcome+the+year+of+the+dragon.+%E2%80%9CChinese+culture+is+very+important+and+the+%5BWHS+Chinese+National+Honor+Society%5D+wanted+to+share+that+culture+with+everyone%2C%E2%80%9D+junior+and+performer+Sadie+Batista+said.
Credit: Elyssa Grillo
Wayland residents build a rainbow dragon craft at the Lunar New Year celebration to welcome the year of the dragon. “Chinese culture is very important and the [WHS Chinese National Honor Society] wanted to share that culture with everyone,” junior and performer Sadie Batista said.

On Saturday, Feb. 10, the Town of Wayland hosted its annual Lunar New Year celebration at Wayland High School from 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.. Lunar New Year marks the beginning of a new year on the Chinese calendar, and with 12 Chinese zodiac signs that rotate each year, 2024 also marks the year of the dragon. The event was sponsored by the Wayland Chinese American Association and co-sponsored by the Wayland Human Rights, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
(HRDEIC), Arts Wayland, Wayland Public Library and the Wayland Cultural Council. Tickets were sold at the door and online.

In WHS’s commons, tables were pushed together to form a path for participants to buy traditional Chinese items or to create their own under the instruction of specialists. Each table hosted different traditional Chinese food and activities. The activities that occurred in the commons ranged from crafts to mini vendors, with some Wayland residents volunteering their experience and talents. The Wayland Public Library also hosted a station for families to draw and color pictures, as well as build special crafts that make noise that is meant to scare away bad luck in the Chinese culture.

Wayland residents color photos of dragons using the tradition Lunar New Year colors, red and gold, as part of the Lunar New Year festive crafts.

Wayland resident Daisy Jao and her husband ran the Chinese calligraphy station, in which they wrote participants’ names in Mandarin using traditional quill and ink.

“I have been running this activity since this event started in Wayland,” Jao said. “I’ve always loved to broaden the American people’s knowledge of Chinese culture.”

Jao’s son attended Wayland Public Schools years ago, and when he was in elementary school, she taught Chinese calligraphy to his class. Although she stopped giving these lessons when he went to middle school, she decided to still contribute her skills to the Wayland community by volunteering at the Lunar New Year celebration.

“Even with my son out of school, I still love the feeling of giving my culture to other people,” Jao said. “The New Year is very warm, and is a great way to reach out to others in the town.”

Wayland resident Daisy Jao holds a calligraphy station at the Wayland Lunar New Year celebration where she writes participants’ names in traditional Mandarin calligraphy.

In the WHS auditorium, traditional performances also occured. One of the first performances in the auditorium was a classical Chinese dance called “The Beauty of West Lake.” The dance illustrated the daily lives of girls living along the West Lake in Hanzo, China. The dancers imitated acts like drinking tea or doing farm work.

“This dance is very famous in China and has been passed down through many generations,” dancer Helen Cao said. “It is a classic performance for the New Year.”

The dancers spent about a year preparing for this Lunar New Year performance. They perform a different dance at this event every year.

“We have been doing a Chinese classical dance at this event for about 18 years now,” Cao said. “It takes a while for us to practice and learn a new dance every year.”

Afterwards, WHS’s Chinese National Honors Society (CNHS) performed a dance to the song called “You Look Happy When You Smile” by Li Xin Rong. The Chinese National Honors Society performs a different piece every year.

“This year we decided on [“You Look Happy When You Smile”], and I think that the dance is really fun,” junior and performer Sadie Batista said.

The students practiced the dance for weeks leading up to the event. According to some members of CNHS, they believe it is important to inform people about Chinese culture and to spread awareness about the topic.

“Chinese culture is very important and CNHS wanted to share that culture with everyone,” Batista said.

There were severa; students from various grades performing this dance for the CNHS. These students chose to do this because of their interest in Mandarin and Chinese culture.

“I chose to do this because I thought it looked fun and I wanted to share the culture with everyone at the event,” Batista said. “All of these events are made to inform people about the culture and to share the celebration. I think it’s a really fun event that is enjoyable for everyone.”

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About the Contributor
Elyssa Grillo, Staff Reporter
Elyssa Grillo, Class of 2025, is a first year reporter for WSPN. Elyssa plays for the Wayland high school field hockey team and is a member of Window Dance Ensemble. Outside of school, she enjoys ballet, spending time with friends and family, reading and shopping. Contact: [email protected]
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