In second grade social studies class, Manhattan Lower School students learned about Lunar New Year, a holiday celebrated across Asia and around the globe by those of Asian descent. The unit began with teachers presenting the history of Lunar New Year and discussing the traditions associated with the special occasion.
“We talked about how Lunar New Year is celebrated all over the world, not just in China, and [the date of celebration] is based on the movement of the moon,” said Manhattan Lower School Teacher Ms. Sullivan.
Two read alouds that were included in the students’ exploration of the holiday were Ruby’s Wish and Sam and the Lucky Money. The first picture book is an inspirational story that highlights the education of Chinese women, while the second book tells the story of a boy in New York City who chooses to spend his red envelope lucky money in a charitable way.
The second grade classes at Manhattan Lower School gathered together for a parade to welcome in the Year of the Ox on February 12. Parades featuring a lion dance are popular during Lunar New Year celebrations, and they symbolize good luck and fortune. Manhattan Lower School Assistant Division Head Mr. Bletterman joined in the festivities and wore a lion mask from Hong Kong to lead the group throughout the building.
Note: Previously, we incorrectly stated that the students participated in a dragon dance. Although both lion and dragon dances are celebratory traditions, a lion dance usually features 1-2 people in the lion costume, while dragon dances include multiple performers in a dragon costume.