WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year as it is also known, was celebrated in style in a diverse program held at West Orange High School on Feb. 15 that was sponsored by the school district and United Asian Voices of West Orange.
United Asian Voices was formed in response to increased violence against the Asian community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group’s goal is to educate and unite the community in support of the town’s diversity. Approximately 56 different ethnic groups celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is considered one of the most important holidays on the Chinese calendar. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, and each different year and character is determined by a Lunisolar system and parts of the calendar that include the Chinese zodiac.
Traditions include housecleaning to sweep away ill-fortune and make way for good luck, decorating windows and doors with red paper cutouts of good fortune and happiness, lighting firecrackers, and giving money in red paper envelopes.
World languages supervisor Felix Plata; Chinese instructors from Edison, Liberty and Roosevelt middle schools, and West Orange High School; and students in all grades worked together with UAVWO to transform the Tarnoff Gym at WOHS for the celebration. Steeped in tradition, colorful posters and decorations filled the hallway, students manned craft tables and games, and a program was presented that included Chinese songs and dances, all performed by the students. The event represented not only the celebration of the Lunar New Year, but the hope it also brings.
Photos Courtesy of WOSD