On January 28, the Wilmington Boys & Girls Club hosted a Chinese New Year celebration for our elementary and middle school members. Students from our San Pedro Club and Port of LA Club attended the event which showcased the history and cultural traditions behind the popular holiday.
Also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, according to history.com, Chinese New Year is, “the most important social and economic holiday in China.” The holiday is very focused on family unity and joining together for celebrations.
Fine Arts Director Sandra Avila coordinated the Wilmington Club celebration for our youth from all three Clubs to celebrate as a family. The event opened with our students receiving traditional Chinese New Year gifts including oranges and red envelopes with toy money while confetti was thrown as a much safer form of the traditional fireworks display. Our youth then settled down to hear about the history behind the holiday. The most popular legend of Chinese New Year is a story of how the villagers of a town scared away a monster by hanging up red banners, lighting fireworks, playing drums, wearing masks and marching with lamps which eventually became the new year holiday practices.
Our students learned about the musical traditions with a Dizi, Chinese bamboo flute, performance and a video of a group drum performance from China. The ceremony ended with a dragon parading through our Wilmington Club gym.
Events, like our annual Chinese New Year celebration, give our youth the opportunity to experience popular cultural holidays and broaden their knowledge of international traditions.