LIVINGSTON, NJ — Local dignitaries, including Mayor Shawn Klein, Livingston Board of Education members Ronnie Konner and Pamela Chirls, joined Livingston Chinese School staff and students at their Chinese New Year celebration event last week at Heritage Middle School.

According to the Chinese School, the Lunar New Year has been the “biggest festival in the cold winter.” Former Principal and Livingston Chinese School Board Chairman Dr. Yifeng Ho wished all in attendance an auspicious new year in his opening remarks.

"Livingston is the city where I grew up and I am delighted to see that the Livingston Chinese School provides an excellent environment for the community to teach Chinese culture," said Klein. “I wish you a happy new year.”

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Entertainment at the event began with the traditional "Cheung Lion Xianrui," the Lion Dance, performed by the WuShu-KungFu Fitness Center. Board members said the children were excited to see the Lions passing around the “red envelope” for good fortune.

Fifth and sixth-graders Bryan Wong, Eliza Tagle, Erik Liu and Tai Artis introduced the performance program, most of which was performed by students, in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Cantonese preschool and kindergarten classes sang "Falling Bird,” followed by a performance of “Little Wooden Horse” by Mandarin kindergarten and first-grade classes and “Golden Chicken Dance" by the third grade to attract the audience's attention. The performances were met with a warm applause.

Instructed by Teacher Tien-Li Wu, "5 Chinese Ancient Beauties" introduced the five ancient Chinese beauties—Xi Shi, Diao Chan, Wang Zhao Jun, Yang Gui Fei and Chang-o—and their reputations and influences on the ancient Chinese emperors. In addition, the "7 Elements" combined the traditional Chinese culture dance and Chinese ink painting to show the various elements of nature, water, wind, fish and a variety of flowers.

Other performances included the Children's Folk Dance Group’s "Panda Celebrating New Year;" the Mandarin 2nd-grade class’ "Dong Dong Qiang Happy New Year;" the Mandarin 4th and 5th graders’ "Story of Nian," describing the Chinese fairy tales of “Nian;” and more. According to the school board, all the parents and guests felt the joy of Year of Ding-You Rooster.

In addition to the children’s performance program, a dinner was prepared and sponsored by many local vendors. The event coincided with the Chinese Lantern Festival, in which the Youth Volunteers prepared lanterns and games for the children to play and bring the Chinese lanterns home.  

The cafeteria, which emanated the Chinese New Year atmosphere, was decorated by the Chinese School’s volunteer parents. The fundraising raffle was one of the biggest highlights of the evening. Thanks to the support of the local businesses, there were more than 80 prizes, including various gifts, cosmetics, red wine, gift cards and gift baskets prepared by class parents. 

The Livingston Chinese School thanked all the volunteers, parents, faculty and guests for their support. 

All photos were provided by the Livingston Chinese School.