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Roaring into the Year of the Dragon

Posted by: Isabella Leann Chow - 10 March 2024 - Activities & Sports - Read time: 4 minutes

On 20 February 2024, students, teachers and staff members from different cultures at MPW London came together at 6pm to usher in the Lunar New Year of the Dragon, an auspicious creature in the Chinese zodiac symbolising power, strength and good luck.

Hanging streams of vibrant red lanterns, beautiful dragon lanterns, Chinese dancing lion puppets and other auspicious symbols and decorations in red and gold hues set against an animated dragon LCD backdrop, the events hall was transformed into a dazzling spectacle of Lunar New Year enchantment. The air was palpable with eager excitement and anticipation as the rhythmic beat of the drums heralded the start of the mesmerising lion dance.

In a stunning display of vigour and vitality, the beautifully crafted lion with expressive features and shimmering eyes adorned with colourful fabric and decorated with bells and ornaments, danced with power and grace to drumbeats and clashing cymbals, mirroring the actions of a playful lion which captured the essence of the festive spirit. The lion continued to dance around the tables, symbolically bringing good fortune and prosperity to all.

Students were encouraged to try their hand at beating traditional Chinese drums. There was a bookmark-making activity where students could unleash their artistic prowess in designing and crafting their own masterpieces inspired by the rich colours, traditions, and symbols of the Lunar New Year. There was also a “calligraphy” corner where one could try writing a Lunar New Year greeting or have their own names translated into Chinese characters. Amidst the festive whirl, our student councillors went round, offering everyone a chance to draw a fortune-telling stick, supposedly carrying the promise of destiny. The festive air was punctuated by laughter as they read their “destiny”. There was a sense of camaraderie and community as students, staff, teachers, and their families joined in the Lunar New Year activities.

Of course, a celebration of such a joyous occasion would not have been complete without a sumptuous banquet of culinary delights to tantalise the taste buds. There were steamed dumplings symbolising wealth and prosperity (due to their resemblance to the shape of Chinese ingots used as money in ancient times), crispy Spring rolls (which resembled gold bars hence symbolising wealth and prosperity), Vietnamese Spring rolls (Lunar New Year is also celebrated in Vietnam), Mongolian Beef, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Longevity noodles (symbolising long life) just to name a few. Adding to the atmosphere of festivity were Fortune cookies, each delicate shell holding a mysterious nugget of wisdom or prophetic insight on a tiny slip of paper. The celebrations ended with each person leaving with the quintessential “hongbao” or the red Lunar New Year packet containing a gold chocolate coin; gold symbolises good luck and fortune and its round shape symbolises unity and harmony.

I am sure that everyone who attended the Lunar New Year celebrations at MPW would agree that the celebrations were amazing, perfectly embodying the auspicious energy of the Dragon Year. For those of us who are far from home, it has been a heart-warming experience to see a vibrant mosaic of cultures coming together in a beautiful tapestry of diversity and unity to celebrate the Lunar New Year. As we leave behind 2023 and embark on 2024, may it truly be a dragon year filled with blessings of health, wisdom, happiness and abundant success for our international community of students, teachers and staff at MPW!