Chinese Lunar New Year

Passport Series Celebrates Year of the Rat/Mouse

The MICDS Passport Series celebrated Lunar New Year this week, honoring the Year of the Rat/Mouse and embracing Chinese culture. Parents, guardians and some MICDS staff came together to enjoy several presentations, an abundant selection of food and beautiful Chinese art. What a wonderful way to honor the Lunar New Year together!

As attendees entered the Olson Hall Presentation Room, they were met with palace lanterns and the Chinese Spring Festival Couplet which included antithetical poetic couplets written on scrolls to convey wishes for peace, fortune and good luck. Attendees wore traditional fitted silk dresses called Qipao or Cheongsam, one of the most typical costumes for Chinese women.

At the event, Dr. Pingfan Liu gave an overview of the over 3,500 years of traditional Chinese medicine which included talking about acupuncture. MICDS parent Mr. Zhui Chen gave a tai chi demonstration and artist Mr. Sun Liu from LIU SUN Studio exhibited some of his studio paintings. Liu showcased his fabulous Chinese calligraphy on traditional rice paper and made souvenirs of his hand-painted bookmarks at the event which he gave to attendees. Also, to start off the program, Upper School Nurse Michelle Fox gave a brief overview of the coronavirus and answered questions.

A smorgasbord of cultural dishes was generously prepared by parents. Dishes included appetizer agaric, vegetable fried rice noodles, glutinous (sticky rice) covered in coconut flakes (the word for “sticky” in Chinese sounds like the word for “year”), sesame chicken, broccoli beef, Korean-style fried noodles, Singapore Yu Sheng/Prosperity Toss Salad, South Asian traditional fish salad, egg rolls, dumplings, red bean sesame ball, moon cakes, mochi, steamed bread and green tea. Some parents even brought adorable, mouse-shaped sweet buns that symbolized the Year of the Rat/Mouse and surrounded red buns shaped as “2020.” They were on the same dish that had yellow and white rolls shaped like traditional Chinese gold and silver ingots, symbolizing prosperity.

For the Prosperity Toss salad, MICDS parents Tyan Tan and Yen Jan demonstrated tossing or lifting the salad as high as possible with chopsticks to symbolize how our fortunes and blessings will also rise higher in the new year. Long noodles represent longevity in Chinese culture. A salad also included black mushrooms which are considered to have nutritional benefits that are a big part of Eastern medicine.

Thank you to parent Sherry Ma for largely orchestrating the entire event with the help of Mary Chou, Janice Li and Parents Association President Nela Navarrine. A big thank you also goes to all of the families who brought food to the celebration as well.

When the event concluded, parents took home traditional red envelopes for their kids. “Instead of the traditional money inside from the older generation to the younger generation, these had chocolate coins and a small note saying “Happy New Year” in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese—all cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year,” Chou detailed.

“It’s always heartwarming to see MICDS parents at Passport Series events – which always includes fun and food,” shared Mary. “For many parents new to MICDS, especially ones new to the USA, it becomes a great way to meet other parents. The statistics say we have families who speak 40+ languages and we have 36% students of color, and you can really see that diversity and feel the community’s embrace of that diversity at Passport Series events.”

Best wishes for a wonderful year of peace, prosperity, health and happiness! 新年快乐!

Don’t forget — the next Passport Series event honors Black History Month on Thursday, February 6, 12-1:30 p.m. in the Middle School Alumnae Room. We hope to see you there!