How better to learn about a foreign culture than to sample some of its customs and foods?
That was CVA art teacher Christina Korba’s idea as she undertook a week-long Chinese New Year project with one of her art classes at the end of January. Chinese New Year follows the Chinese calendar, so it can fall between January 21 and February 20. Chinese communities celebrate with bright lights, lanterns, dragons, music, food, gifts and parades.
Ms. Korba used her art classes to prepare materials for a February 5th classroom celebration.The class looked at images of New Year’s parades and talked about how the Chinese celebration differs from the January 1 holiday in Western cultures. Then, students made dragon puppets and paper lanterns patterned after those in Chinese parades. The class also created a giant banner to lead a parade.
“When I told the students that we were going to have a parade, they thought I had said, ‘party,'” said Ms. Korba.
Rather than disappoint the class, she provided a sampling of Chinese foods including dried coconut, coconut milk and mango juice. She also gave each student a special New Year’s chocolate coin tucked in a traditional Chinese red envelope—Chinese custom is to give money to unmarried adults and children as a symbol of good fortune.
To top off the day, students collected their dragons and lanterns and paraded down the hallway to the Student Services office.