Celebrating the Lunar New Year


During Assembly on Friday, February 9, Hans Yuan ’25 spoke to the Abbey community about the significance of the Lunar New Year to the “world across the Pacific pond.” He described how, for many in China, Korea, and much of Asia, the Lunar New Year is the one time when family members who are scattered across distant cities prioritize time together, share meals, sing karaoke, and celebrate each other. “And because you are all family to us international students, we would like to invite you all to celebrate this special holiday with us,” he said.

He described how each new year is associated with one of 12 animals from the Chinese Calendar. Zodiac animals were, according to legend, determined by a swimming race in the animal kingdom. The first 12 to win the race were awarded a year in their honor. The dragon was the fifth finisher in the race. Those born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be exceptionally enthusiastic and lucky. 

Yuan extended an invitation to the Lunar New Year Celebration Dinner organized by several members of the Abbey’s Chinese parent community and explained the tradition of handing out red packets. In China, the red packets are given out by parents and grandparents to express their love for their children. The packets are typically filled with money. In return, children express gratitude for all their parents and grandparents have done for them and extend good wishes. “To this day, my grandparents, through being frugal, save up for my red packet even though I am half a world away from them. And so you can imagine that delivering this gift to a grandchild you only see once or twice a year is very intimate,” he explained. He then advised, “If you find yourself a recipient of a red packet, give a blessing of good health along with your thank you.”

Stillman Dining Hall was decorated throughout the weekend to reflect the Year of the Dragon. Chinese treats and delicious food were provided, and students attending were gifted with a red packet. The celebration continued with events in the Student Center on Saturday evening. 

Portsmouth Abbey School is fortunate to have such a caring and supportive Chinese parent community and would like to give special thanks to Dr. Yongqian Ma and Ms. Linda Li, parents of Xiangchuan (Ryan) Ma ’25, Dr. Laiming Luo and Dr. Chang Liu, parents of Ganxi (Adam) Luo ’26, Mr. Yan Gong and Mrs. Liying Yuan, parents of Fangyi (Elsa) Gong ’27, Mr. Dayi Zhang and Mrs. Xiaoshan Zhang, parents of Zinan (Heather) Zhang ’26, Mr. Chun Yuan and Mrs. Mei Zhang, parents of Hanze (Hans) Yuan ’25, Dr. Fan He and Dr. Changqing Qi, parents of Yihang (Andrew) He ’27 and Mr. Xiaohui Wang and Mrs. Lei Xu, parents of Yangzhi (Alex ) Wang ’26.


(Happy New Year)


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