PA Celebrates Chinese New Year With Dinner and Show

According to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, this Sunday marks the beginning of a New Year. During the upcoming Spring Festival, people all around the world will celebrate this holiday and welcome the Year of the Boar. Traditionally, the celebrations take place over the course of 15 days. At the end of the celebration, bright lanterns of good luck and hope are paraded across streets. These festivities are not lost at Phillips Academy. Amid the red lanterns hanging above the threshold of Sam Phil, the Andover community celebrated the Chinese New Year last Tuesday. Although the celebration happened a few days before the real Chinese New Year, faculty, students and staff members embodied the New Year’s spirit. Commons prepared an all-Chinese dinner featuring dumplings and fried rice, which was met with a general enthusiasm from the student body. After the dinner, many students headed to the annual New Year’s Talent Show sponsored by the Chinese Department. Kemper Auditorium was embellished with lanterns, ribbons and Chinese characters, adding to the festive atmosphere. Red envelopes holding gold chocolate coins were passed out to students. Travis Conley, or “Kang Laoshi,” Head of the Chinese Department, was dressed in a red and black costume topped with a Mandarin hat. Benjamin Laccetti ‘08, the president of the Chinese Language Club, and Nathaniel Lavin ’07 hosted the show and distributed gifts to winners of trivia questions. Each Chinese language class performed a creative skit, song, or presentation, in which they demonstrated their Chinese language skills and showed off their knowledge of Chinese culture. Performances included “Crazy Confucius” by Chinese 100, “80’s Dance Video” by Chinese 300 and “Shoes” by Chinese 500. A Chinese 220 class performed their own rendition of Mulan’s “I’ll Make A Man Outta You”. The Chinese 120 class wished the audience good fortune with their song, “Gongxi Gongxi.” One Chinese 420 section made a video featuring Zhu Bajie, one of the key characters in the ancient Chinese novel, “Journey to the West.” The show is also an opportunity for students to learn a little about the culture of international students from Asia. Henry Yin ’07, president of International Club and a student from Beijing, said, “I would have liked to see more Chinese culture as well as Chinese language, but for the students to have done this is already a pretty amazing achievement.” Many students enjoyed watching other Chinese language students’ skits. Alicja Lam ’07, who played the role of a student oppressed by Mr. Conley’s fictitious substitute, said, “I really like the Chinese New Year festival because I had a lot of fun preparing for the skit that Chinese 500 performed. It gives us a chance to practice speaking Chinese, have fun as a class, and enjoy other presentations.” Dominic Dejesus ’10 said, “[The Chinese New Year Talent Show] was a great blend of Chinese language and American humor. And it turned out to be hilarious.”