Lunar New Year Celebration Goes Virtual


Yongyu Qiu (III)

Information about the upcoming virtual event for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year is traditionally a time to honor deities and ancestors, as well as to bring families and friends together. To observe this tradition, West Roxbury Chinese Culture Society (WRCCS) has hosted a Lunar New Year celebration every year since 2016. Originally started to provide families with information about the exam and private schools, Vivica Li, the main contact of WRCCS, first proposed the idea of an event to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Librarians at the West Roxbury Public Library loved the idea of bringing people together and sharing the Chinese culture, so they supported this event and helped spread the word. This year, the West Roxbury Public Library has partnered with Boston Latin School Friends of Chinese Culture (FCC) and Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence (BPCAE) to host a virtual Lunar New Year celebration on February 12.

When this event was held in person, many people came and enjoyed performances such as lion dancing and Chinese dance. They also gave children red envelopes and made arts and crafts. There was also an exhibition displaying various sculptures, paintings and more. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this year’s activities will be moved online.

Li comments on the complications of the virtual format, saying that “we are worried about getting people together because not everyone has access to the internet. They are in the process of figuring out a solution for this, but for some of the elders, they are hoping that their children or grandchildren could set it up for them.”

Besides celebrating Lunar New Year and spreading Chinese culture to a broader audience, the president of BPCAE, Bentao Cui says, “one of the goals [of the event] is to have more people know about BPCAE and support the merit-based entrance to the three exam schools in the city of Boston.”

Cui mentions that there would also be workshops available where people are taught arts and crafts. In preparation for this upcoming event, “we’ve been organizing the performance list, reaching out to families to participate in the video that we’ll be sharing during the celebration,” says Julia Xu, president of BLS FCC.

Although it’s being held online, there will still be performances at the celebration. Students are welcome to submit videos to be shown during the event. The Diabolo (Chinese Yo-Yo) Club at BLS, which has been performing for this event since 2016, will also take part this year. They plan to come up with choreography, practice it over Zoom with the other members and compile recordings into one video.

Aikee Cheung (I) recalls, “I remembered performing there at the Chinese New Year Celebration. There’s a great sense of support and community, […] and everyone cheered when we did tricks. It wasn’t only for the Chinese community; it was open to those who wanted to join and learn. There was this one year after our performance, we had some audience members who wanted to learn the yo-yo. We taught them to play and explained the history behind it — why it was an important traditional Chinese art.”

The Lunar New Year Celebration is a great opportunity for those interested in learning about Chinese culture. You can see some amazing performances from different clubs such as the BLS Diabolo Club and learn about the history behind some of these Chinese traditional arts. It’s a wonderful time to bring people together amid the pandemic.