Hopping Into the Year of the Rabbit
Colin L. Powell Elementary School in Centreville welcomed the Year of the Rabbit, with origami, games, dancing and treats – in the first-ever schoolwide Lunar New Year Celebration today. “We have not been able to gather as a school community for a long time due to the pandemic,” Principal Jamie Luerssen said. “We are a Korean immersion program here, but our goal today was to honor what the Lunar New Year means to all different cultures across the Asian community.”
Third-grader Gina Ly said she enjoyed making Chinese paper lanterns, and playing Korean paper flipping games to celebrate the lunar new year. “I learned about how the New Year means trying to get good luck, calling on your ancestors and hoping to ward evil spirits away,” Ly said. “The evil spirits don’t like firecrackers, it’s their weakness, but we didn’t do firecrackers today.” Sixth-grader Frances Kowalski was one of many students who wore a hanbok, or traditional Korean dress, in honor of the day.
“They’re very hot, they’re made out of silk,” Kowalski said of the hanboks. To Frances and her friends, the best part of the day was sampling food, especially a particular dumpling made with dough that symbolizes long life. “We’ve been celebrating Lunar New Year for a number of years here in the immersion program, but it’s the food that’s always my favorite part.” Third-grader Oliver Kim says he thinks its important for the whole school to learn about Lunar New Year, even though he has plans to celebrate outside of school as well. “It helps us respect other cultures,” Oliver said. “I mean what if we travel overseas and find ourselves in Korea during Lunar New Year? It’s good for us to know what to expect and how to join in to have fun.”
Principal Luerssen says she’s confident both learned some things and had a good time. “I had a Kindergartner say ‘This is the best day I have ever had,’” Luerssen said. “That’s how you learn. When school is fun, and you have a child say that, it means we are teaching and they are learning and hopefully they’re going to go home and talk about this at the dinner table. We hope our students leave here knowing all cultures are important, and we can recognize different celebrations – this is part of our work in doing that.”