Lions and Raiders: Lunar New Year Celebrated at The Hun School
The ball drop in Times Square may signal the beginning of a new year for some, but in China, the new year celebration occurs in late January or early February in accordance with the lunar calendar.
The Chinese consider Lunar New Year the most important festival of the year. It’s celebrated for seven days with colorful decorations, fireworks, lion and dragon dances, and family meals. On January 31st, The Hun School celebrated Lunar New Year in Wilf Global Commons, bringing together day and boarding students, as well as faculty and their families. The celebration was organized by The Asian Culture Club, a student-led club dedicated to spreading awareness of Asian cultures. “We gathered suggestions from students from China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam and came up with activities, such as writing calligraphy and playing shuttlecocks,” says Helena Sun, president of The Asian Culture Club.
In addition to a celebratory meal of Chinese cuisine, attendees also participated in karaoke and were treated to a traditional performance by the Penn Lions. The Penn Lions may be the region’s premier Chinese lion dance troupe, but their performance went beyond a thrilling cultural experience due to a special Lion-Raider connection: Zelan von Kaenel ’18, is a member of the group. Now an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. von Kaenel returned to his alma mater to perform at this year’s celebration.
The lion dance, a traditional Chinese art form, is considered to bring good luck and fortune to its audiences. Dressed in a lion costume, dancers mimic movements of the lion. Often confused with the dragon dance, the lion is usually performed with just two dancers and its movements echo those found in Chinese martial arts.
“The celebration was not only oriented towards Asian students; instead, everyone in the Hun community was welcomed to join the party,” notes Sun. “As a result, we were able to spread our traditions and culture to non-Asian students and faculty through games and food.”
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.