Mandarin students bring the traditions of Lunar New Year back to CHS

This cultural experience, now in its second year, expands its efforts with a variety of activities to teach Chinese customs and traditions


Miguel Coria Cortes

Ms. Yuh-Jin Lin leads a group of students in her Mandarin I class in their ceremonial Dragon Dance to honor the Lunar New Year.

Colton, CA— On Friday, January 20th, Colton High’s Mandarin students, led by teacher Ms. Yuh-jin Lin, brought a day of traditional Chinese festivities from Lunar New Year to CHS.

The event, in its second year, expanded its efforts by offering unique cultural stations in Lin’s classroom in addition to the ceremonial dragon dance performed around campus. 

Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in countries across the Asian pacific, was officially celebrated this past Sunday, January 22nd. CHS celebrated a couple days early due to the holiday falling on a weekend.

For the stations, Lin drew inspiration from her own experiences as a Chinese woman and from her childhood, in order to bring more cultural enrichment to students. 

“I think I wanted my students to not only learn the language, but to also learn the culture because the culture is a basic of the language,” Ms. Lin explains, “When they learn the culture, it’ll help them learn the language better. If they have an authentic experience, the learning will come from themselves, not just from reading the book or internet.”

The Chinese New Year celebration is a win-win for both the Mandarin students’ experience learning the language, and for the CHS community’s support of diversity.

Activities in the classroom included a “Legends of the Chinese New Year” storytelling station featuring an interactive Promethean board, Chinese calligraphy, chopstick games, origami creation, and a block building game to teach the sounding out of chinese expressions and phrases.

Freshman Violet Palma was especially intrigued by the complexities of writing Chinese calligraphy. “This is a pretty dope experience,” she said.

The day was kicked off and culminated with a ceremonial Dragon Dance and the singing of new year caroles. Lin’s Mandarin I students paraded through the halls to perform for students in Ms. Danielle Fernandez and Mr. Leo Cruz, and Mr. Emmanuel Lopez’s classes. Students sang traditional songs, like “Gong Xi Gong Xi” and “Xin Nian Hao,” both songs wishing those who are listening congratulations and a Happy New Year.

While Lunar New Year may be an odd holiday to celebrate in a predominantly latino community like Colton, students can all agree that celebrating it still offers inclusivity to our diversity. 

“We should show the differences in our community, and diversity,” Mandarin student Genesis Rodela expresses. “It’s important to represent that.” 

As another Lunar New Year celebration passes, Lin continues to make it her mission to keep this tradition alive at CHS.