Lunar New Year Kicks Off In The Parsley Center

Photo by Angela Roma on

Colin Vu ‘22

On February 1st, the Strake Jesuit and St. Agnes Mandarin program continued its annual celebration of Lunar New Year. The event welcomed all current and former Mandarin students, faculty, and other guests to learn more about Chinese culture and cuisine. 

Along with highlighting the New Year, the event was a showcase of the Mandarin course. Mandarin I students presented their artistic New Year couplets on red paper, displayed on banners. That brought vivid delight to the Parsley Center. They spent previous classes perfecting their calligraphy with gigantic water brushes, drawing Chinese characters with care and precision. Detailed presentations on culture, history, and folkways allowed Mandarin students to share what they had learned about China’s wonders. 

Strake Jesuit’s traditional Lunar New Year celebration took years to perfect. 

“It took generations of students to bring us to where we are now,” says Mrs. Meyer, Strake Jesuit’s Mandarin instructor. 

For instance, numerous past classes of students and their parents have planned where to buy the right food to bring the event menu closer to authenticity. 

“Each year, the baton passes to bring about a memorable experience for our community,” Mrs. Meyer said.

The celebration started with a prayer and lion dance by Mandarin III students. It was then followed by a performance from Nico Valladolid ‘23, who played traditional Chinese music on his violin.

The AP Mandarin students also performed a play that combined Chinese folklore with Jesuit journeys. The play depicts the adventures of Sun Wukong (Monkey King) and the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who made great contributions to relations between the West and East  (You can visit him in statue form near Agee Hall!). About the significance of the story, Rafa Parra ‘22, who played Monkey King, said, “It took a traditional story and fused it with a modern, relatable tale. Most importantly, it brought many of the actors who were not of Asian descent further into the family.” 

Strake Jesuit’s Chinese New Year concluded with delicious food and another amazing lion dance. Mrs. Meyer and her students hope to continue introducing a culture rich in history and celebrate a tradition shared by many families at Jesuit.