Friday, January 30, 2009


chinese new year celebrations at our little elementary school were marvelous. it is SO much fun to be exposed to the traditions of another culture, and have them incorporated into our own tasty cultural amalgam here in smalltown southern california.

the celebration included a trip to the new huntington library chinese garden for the 4th graders -- absolutely gorgeous, with incredible motifs even in the walkways. the docent did a wonderful job of explaining the symbolism, multi-layered, to the kids. circles mean the moon, the white moon, hinting at white jade, the most treasured color of jade. keeping 2 rambunctious boys separated and listening prevented my learning too much -- guess i'll have to go back! we are members, so in theory can go any time. i used to take thing 1 and thing 2 when they were tiny, to feed the ducks and watch the koi, the turtles, the frogs, and marvel at the tiny bonsai trees in the japanese garden. this field trip motivated me to pop in after school some day soon.

look at what you walk on!

for the last week, chinese new year has involved decorating the school with lanterns, masks and dragons in anticipation of the chinese lunch and festival today. what an event, featuring a dancing lion, parasol dancers and lots of ladies dressed up in their chinese silk jackets (i must have missed the appropriate dress portion of my invitation). and i was interviewed for the local chinese language newspaper. hope they quote me correctly! i'll have no way of knowing ;-).

this dragon greets you at the drop-off circle:

beautiful lanterns hang in all the breezeway arches:

the emperor and empress (principal and pta pres.) were the honored guests:

parasol dancers:

the lion dance was entrancing:

thing 1 wore red today -- it's good luck

a sample of the beautiful chinese jackets:
so what did the reporter ask me? how i felt about celebrating chinese new year at school! how i felt about the incorporation of chinese culture into the curriculum! i mentioned that, having grown up in maryland, where we just had white people and black people, with the rare exception, i had no exposure to the wonders of the far east, and just love it. i told him that thing 2, being adopted and looking what i call "generically ethnic", and having lots of little chinese friends, wants to be chinese and has told me that his friends believe he has chinese in him. the reporter was highly amused, and identified with socal's wealth of multicultural stimulation, as he grew up in IOWA, of all places, where everyone was white (except for him, obviously!) i gave him my name, and hope someone gives me a copy of the paper where i am quoted. wouldn't that be great!

Happy New Year! Gung Hay Fat Choy! or Gong Xi Fa Cai! (mandarin vs. cantonese)

now on to valentine's day...


christyzee said...

very interesting and beautiful!

Rachel May said...

Aww..that sounds so wonderful! I love being introduced to new cultures. That's one of the big reasons why I moved to Denver from a small town in Montana. Not much diversity. Here, I soak it up.
Beautiful pictures!
Rachel May

E. Madley said...

your little kids say the adorable things. have you always had a blog? it's like i come back from frankfurt and you had all these entries... sneaky.