Second-graders celebrate Chinese New Year |

Second-graders celebrate Chinese New Year

CC Meneley second-graders dressed the part Friday for a Chinese New Year presentation.
Brad Coman |

Students rang in the Year of the Rooster on Friday at Meneley Elementary School.

Chinese New Year, which began Saturday, was shared with the school’s second-graders.

“This celebration is the happiest occasion for Chinese people and the biggest celebration,” performer and Gardnerville resident Sonia Carlson told the audience. “It’s a time to pay respect to elders and families and celebrate together.”

For 17 years Carlson and her daughter Ingrid have presented traditional Chinese dances to welcome the new year with schools throughout Northern Nevada.

“The people I meet and the connections I make, both the people in my group and the audience has been a great experience,” said Ingrid. “ All of my performances have been great, and are so much fun to do.”

Ingrid is a 2015 Douglas High School graduate who has been performing with her mother since she was 3 years old.

“It’s fun to share the culture with others and perform traditional dances,” said Ingrid

Carlson grew up in the Fujian Province of southeastern China and immigrated to the U.S. in 1987.

“This is a great community,” said Carlson. “It’s always a pleasure.”

Carlson said she shares Chinese culture to expand children’s minds and views of the world.

“It’s a very rural area,” she said, “and you don’t see many people from other countries. I want to share with them traditions and give them some knowledge of other cultures to help them see a bigger picture of the world.”

During the event the children learned how to say, write and sing Happy New Year in Chinese.

After some dance performances by Carlson and Igrid the students played a game of Rouli Ball and Chinese Jianzi.

Mayla Griggs, 8, tried balancing the ball on the racket while spinning in a circle like Ingrid demonstrated.

“It was really hard, it kept falling off,” said Griggs, “I got the hang of it though and was able to balance it. That was a lot of fun and my favorite part of it all.”

Chinese Jianzi is a Chinese sport in which players aim to keep a heavily weighted shuttlecock in the air by using their bodies, apart from their hands, much like hackysack, explained Carlson.

Makensie Hewitt and Bella Acosta from Shiela Craig’s class were two of the students who had the opportunity to try the game.

“It was fun,” said 7-year-old Makensie Hewitt. “It was hard to keep it going without out using your hands.”

The girls agreed that learning another culture is important and the event gave them a different view of new years and how other countries celebrate.

The year of the rooster is the tenth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. The Years of the Rooster include 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981 and 2005.

The Rooster is the epitome of fidelity and punctuality.

“May the year of the Rooster make your health prosperous,” said Carlson.