Lunar New Year is celebrated at M-A with a festival
新年快乐 (Xīnnián kuàilè) (Happy New Year)! Last week Menlo-Atherton High School was treated to a Lunar New Year festival hosted by the Mandarin Club and Asian Culture Club. Asian Culture Club treasurer Katherine De Saram said, “There’s a very low percentage of Asian students [at M-A], and, especially with the pandemic, there’s just been a lot of hate [towards the Asian community].”
Sophomore Willona Chen said, “Lunar New Year is different from what New Years is like in western society. There are lots of traditions that go with the holiday, so we find it important to highlight all.”
Activities on the Green at lunch included calligraphy, red envelope, Chinese Checkers, and craft stations. Most students came for the boba and popcorn chicken, but stayed for the festivities. All proceeds from the boba and popcorn chicken sales went to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that fights discrimination and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The performances were the highlight of the event. Chen and junior Quinn Follmer sang songs associated with the Lunar New Year. Both freshman Monika Pataki and junior Adrian Deutsche Bishop thoroughly enjoyed the traditional Sichuan face-changing opera. Deutsche Bishop said, “The part I enjoyed the most was the face-changing opera. It was really cool. I have no idea how it’s done.”
Chen said, “A lot of people stopped by, and there were certain little crowds at every single station. I think it was totally a success.” She added that she wished everyone knew that “the Asian community is here, and we’re really happy to put on a traditional festival.”
Author Elias Chane is a senior at M-A this year.
Photos by faculty member Sarah Frivold