PA Ushers in Chinese New Year Celebration

Bringing a taste of Chinese culture to Phillips Academy, the Chinese Language Department and the Chinese Language Club collaborated to organize Wednesday’s celebration of the Chinese New Year. Activities included a special dinner in Commons, traditional Chinese crafts and calligraphy in the Commons’ foyer, and the annual theatrical production in Kemper Auditorium. “We want to bring China into Phillips Academy,” Yuan Han, Chair of the Chinese Department said. Chinese decorations adorned the lobby of Commons, and hungry students were treated to a variety of Chinese entrées. Chinese students demonstrated the use of Chinese calligraphy at crafts tables in the Commons’ lobby. Donning a large dragon, children performed a traditional New Year’s dance, weaving through the tables in the dining halls. Following dinner, the Chinese Language Club hosted a talent-show style production in Kemper Auditorium. Students from Andover’s Chinese classes, as well as visiting children from the Andover Chinese Cultural Outreach program, proved their language and dramatic abilities throughout the 90-minute production. “It is a chance for students to show their talent in Chinese… Students can apply what they’ve been learning in class,” said. Dr. Han. The presentation featured songs or skits performed by each Chinese class, and though the actors spoke primarily in Chinese, the audience remained engaged throughout the performance because of the humorous plots and exaggerated acting. English translations were projected using PowerPoint so that students without any experience in Chinese could follow the acts. “The goal is for students to practice the language… They have to best use what they’ve learned to make and perform the plays, so it is very beneficial to their learning,” Instructor in Chinese Shofei Chiu said. Musical duets, instrumental performances and cultural dances were also scattered throughout the program, allowing students to demonstrate not only their language abilities, but also their musical talents. Ms. Chiu said that while the music and dance performances may not seem directly applicable to the study of Chinese, they were still beneficial to the students. “The dance helps [students] to understand the culture… China is a very large country with many different peoples and cultures,” she explained. For nearly a quarter of the world, Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year. Wednesday’s celebrations ushered in the year of the Monkey, which, according to Chinese zodiac, is a year of prosperity.