Skip to main content

Surrey Schools celebrates Lunar New Year 2024


Staff, students and families across the Surrey School District are welcoming the Lunar New Year, one of the biggest annual celebrations in various South East Asian cultures.

Falling on Feb. 10 this year, the Lunar New Year is determined by the lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon. This means the date shifts each year (unlike  the Gregorian calendar), but the Lunar New Year always taking place sometime between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.

Observed by a variety of South East Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in different ways, depending on the culture and country. Many cultures adhere to an animal zodiac, including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Cambodia. While there are many animals shared across all zodiacs, there are some variations.

Rosemary%20Heights.jpg2024 marks the year of the dragon. Image: Rosemary Heights ElementaryFor most cultures, including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and South Korea, 2024 marks the Year of the Dragon. In Thailand, however, 2024 will mark the Year of the Nāga.

For Surrey Schools psychologist Charlotte Ng, Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year for people of Chinese descent) has always been an important time of family and tradition, and the largest celebration of the year during her upbringing in Hong Kong.

“There are many traditions, like adults giving out red packets to children, which are seen as blessings for the new year, meeting with friends and family and enjoying meals and time together,” said Ng. “We would also clean the house and buy new clothes, mostly in red, to signify a new start for Chinese New Year.”

Other Chinese traditions include setting off firecrackers and the lion dance, which are meant to ward off bad spirits and attract good luck and fortune for the coming year. It is also common to not clean your house or cut your hair in the first few days following the Lunar New Year, lest you sweep or cut away your good fortune.

Across the school district, students and classes will be learning about and celebrating the Lunar New Year in various ways, including creating crafts, performances and presentations that will help students learn more about the traditions and their origins.

Schools such as Hillcrest and Old Yale Road elementaries, will enjoy lion dance performances, while others, such as Fraser Heights Secondary, will have even have students taking part in the dance.

For Lunar New Year celebrations at Rosemary Heights Elementary, celebrations will include parent-led stations featuring Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese activities, a lantern riddle contest, a Lunar New Year parade and assembly and an appearance by Caishen, the Chinese God of Fortune.

At Elgin Park Secondary, students will be taking part in calligraphy, Korean games, sugar painting and musical performances featuring the guzheng, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument.

“It’s so nice to see Lunar New Year celebrated now in schools here,” said Ng. “It lets the traditions carry on from generation to generation and everyone gets to discover what Lunar New Year is all about.”

Surrey Schools wishes everybody a happy Lunar New Year!

image description
Back to top