A celebration of red and yellow

Lanterns float through darkness and light up the sky. Music and laughter fill the streets. As people look up, the new moon shines down onto their faces, signaling the beginning of the Chinese New Year: the year of the tiger. 

With 2022’s first new moon on Feb. 1 marking the start of the new year, many celebrate with various festivals, music, dances, and traditions to honor fresh beginnings. The Spring Festival occurs through the first ten days, and during this period, people hold reunion family dinners, clean out their homes to purify themselves and commemorate ancestors or Chinese deities/gods. The Lantern Festival, also known as the Yuan Xiao Festival, begins the Lunar New Year on the fifteenth and final day of the Chinese New Year with a ceremonious lantern release to honor deceased family members.  

“I spend time with my relatives, and we enjoy dinner together to appreciate how much we value family in our culture. On occasion, we burn money as a tribute to our deceased relatives,” Priscilla Dice, junior, said. 

To bring the excitement of the Chinese New Year to Etowah, the Diversity Council, a club working towards a more welcoming environment in the school, has organized an event where students can learn about the culture and traditions of the holiday. On Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, the council will set up a table in the main cafeteria with informational flyers, decorations, and artifacts of the Chinese celebration for students to get an inside look at the festivities. During the lunch periods, there will also be students running the stand to offer more insight into the holiday. 

“These kinds of initiatives are good for our school environment, as it creates more acknowledgment about the diverse backgrounds that we have here. By learning more about different culture, we are [becoming] more aware in general about what is going on around us,” Anvita Rautray, sophomore and diversity council member, said. 

With the Etowah campus being a thriving environment of different languages and backgrounds, the Diversity Council hopes this table can help students learn more about one another in a positive way. After the Chinese New Year ends, they plan to do more projects to celebrate various cultures and make Etowah a more diversified, educated, and informed campus.  

“[We want] to spread awareness about the variety of cultures and backgrounds we have at our school and in our community. [We also want] to explain the origins of Chinese New Year and why it is a significant part of Chinese culture,” Tina Parmar, literature teacher, said. 

As they continue prepping for the big day with red envelopes and streamers, the Diversity Council is determined to honor the grand holiday that so many celebrate and enjoy each year.