Kennedy Celebrates the Chinese New Year


Jackson Berry

Performers participating in the Chinese New Year celebration. Photo edited by Ashton Nanke.

The Chinese class of Kennedy High School wished everyone a happy New Year on Fri Jan 31. It’s not because they got a late start to 2020. China follows the Lunar calendar, meaning that the date of New Year’s day is different each year depending on the phases of the moon. 

Grant Brown, the Chinese teacher at Kennedy High School, organized the event along with his students. 

“I think the Chinese New Year Celebration is going to go great,” Brown said. “My classes have been practicing, they know what they’re doing, and overall, I think it’s going to be a good time.”

The students prepared skits, videos, and dance routines for the night. They showcased these performances for the audience, consisting of family members and Chinese guests. Kennedy High School’s lion dance was one group to perform.

Olivia Yee, so., is part of the dragon and lion dance. Chinese New Year was the first night the lion dance performed. 

“[Lion dance is] an important part of Chinese culture,” Yee said. “It’s one of those cultural traditions that’s really fun to get involved in that happens mainly during Chinese New Year.”

Along with students, Chinese guests were also invited to perform. Zhou Hua was a performer accompanied by her husband, Yang Jun. 

“I just wish for people to come together and really enjoy the event,” Yang said. 

Although the response from the Chinese guests were mostly positive, there were some critiques. Cathy Feng, who performed with the Chinese Christian Church of Iowa City, had comments on the decorations and organization of the event.

Red and yellow streamers were used to decorate the cafeteria, along with lanterns. However, some of the decorations were not seen as traditional. 

“In traditional Chinese culture, if someone died, they will use the yellow color,” Feng said. 

Regardless of the criticism, the event was seen as a success by everyone involved. The Chinese guests hope to return to celebrate with Kennedy next year.