Legacy of Love: Embracing Chinese Culture

By Shaelynn C. – 8B and Beatrix Puan Indah – 11 St. Evan


Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most significant traditional holiday celebrated in China and by Chinese communities worldwide. It marks the beginning of the lunar new year and is steeped in centuries-old customs and traditions. Lasting for 15 days, the festivities are a vibrant tapestry of customs, rituals, and symbolism that reflect the rich heritage of Chinese culture. This year in 2024, Stella Maris School Gading Serpong celebrated Chinese New Year and every student had the chance to participate! Whether it’s performances or other preparations.

Our Mandarin teacher, Tommy Laoshi is originally from Guilin, China. During the Chinese New Year festival, he taught us 8th graders how to properly make traditional Chinese dumplings. Gathered in the biology lab, we were each handed a small piece of dough, along with an assortment of savory fillings. Under the guidance of our laoshi, we learned the art of folding and shaping the dumplings. I remember the boys chasing each other with their flour-covered hands. We finished cooking looking like ‘Marshmallow Man’ (from Ghostbusters) because we had too much fun with the flour!


Beyond the mere act of cooking, making dumplings became a symbol of unity and shared experience. It was a moment of cultural exchange, where students from diverse backgrounds came together to celebrate a tradition unfamiliar to some, yet cherished by many.


The Mandarin Class of the 11th grade students wrote storybooks and each of the story books were filled with Chinese New Year tales. While some may have made up the stories, others wrote already existing ones, like legends of the sort. It’s not a big hard-covered storybook, it was a simple storybook containing only a few pages written in Mandarin. I had a great time making it!


Some had difficulties and took longer than others but in the end, we all had the chance to put our creativity and efforts to the test while creating those little stories in about a week. I had fun with the drawings, it was a little tricky coming up with one that was accurate enough and matched the description of the story.


Mine was about Nian/Nianshou. A Chinese legend of a lion monster that appears out of the sea once a year to terrorize villages, and it’s also the reason why in some Chinese there are traditions like wearing red in their New Years. But of course, I wasn’t the only one who thought of using the legend in my writing, I know many who wrote about it as well. But those were written in their own, unique versions so no story is ever the same. 


Even if some people took inspiration from the same story, they were all told in different ways. Not only is there Nian, my friend wrote the story about the Immortal Golden cow, and I also know of someone who wrote the story of Han Mulan (not the Disney one!). And there were many other stories I didn’t get to hear about that were written in those papers, many more!

Overall, the Chinese New Year’s celebration was great, it was fun and our storybooks did end up as part of the decorations.


Stella Maris Gading Serpong also had a marvelous Chinese New Year Celebration last Saturday (17/02/24). Each grade dedicated a performance, my grade (Y8) performed a festive song, 龍龍的新年. Practicing and rehearsing the performance was my favorite part. We had a lot of fun learning the Chinese movements and captivating lyrics. 


I believe these activities have encouraged us students to appreciate Chinese culture more. We learned more about Chinese culture and felt more connected to it. It made us realize the value of different cultures and inspired us to be more accepting and celebrate diversity. As a Chinese myself, I am beyond grateful to be a student at Stella Maris School Gading Serpong – a school that continues to embrace the cultures of the world, including Chinese New Year. I hope I can experience this again next year, but until then we will continue to cherish the memories from the present. Until next time, happy Chinese New Year!


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