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Lunar New Year Celebration Immersed Students in Chinese Culture

St. Augustine Mandarin students rang in the Year of the Ox last month. To celebrate the Lunar New Year,
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 the Mandarin classes held both virtual and in-person events celebrating the power of the written word in China through the traditional art of calligraphy.
Translated as "beautiful writing," calligraphy is revered as a prized visual art form above all others in traditional China. The Mandarin students practiced the ancient art by writing good fortune messages and blessings using traditional Calligraphy tools like rice paper, brush pens, and ink.

Celebrations kicked off on Feb. 12 with the calligraphy project and the art of paper cutting, another traditional part of Chinese culture. Later, the students will decorate the main Lobby with red decor and classic Chinese riddles.

"It is important that our students not only have the opportunity to learn Mandarin but to also understand the culture to participate in today's global economy," said Dr. Kenneth St. Charles, St. Augustine High School president and CEO. "Our students are better prepared for the future when they can grow up with these purposeful learning experiences."

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Lunar New Year celebrated in several countries other than China including Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and many others all over the world. According to the Lunar calendar, the Lunar New Year or The Spring Festival marks the beginning of the year and marks the transition between zodiac signs. Last year was the year of the Rat and this year is the year of the Ox. The celebration officially starts on February 12th and lasts up to 16 days.

In China, the first seven days are a public holiday and an additional week of celebrating leads up to the final Lantern Festival.
 
The Mandarin students brought the Lunar New Yeat activities to a close with a campus Lantern Festival. On February 26 this year, the Lantern Festival marked the end of the Chinese New Year period. As part of the Lantern Festival, students created Lantern Riddles, including writing riddles on lanterns for others to find. Traditionally, lanterns are let off into the sky on the full moon's day, which makes for an incredible spectacle. 
 

Special guests from the Xavier University of Louisiana
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Confucius Institute also attended the cultural event. Mandarin students welcomed the entire school community to participate. Special thanks to our wonderful Chinese teachers Ms. Bing Zhang and Ms. Yan Zhuangfor all of their work preparing for the celebration, decorating the campus, and leading the cultural activities.