On February 8, HBA started off the first day of the Chinese New Year with the banging of a gong.

During lunch, the Gee Yung International Martial Arts Dragon and Lion Dance Association gave a lion dance performance for teachers, students, and faculty of the middle and high school. Among the lion dancers were four HBA students: seventh graders Christian Kuwaye and Ethan Lee, eighth grader Tyler Ng, and freshman Shawn Tamashiro.

The Chinese Club handed out fortune cookies, Lucky candy, and red envelopes with money in it—known as li see in Chinese—to students who were present at the celebration. The li see were later presented to the yellow and orange lions to be ceremoniously consumed.

“I hope the students enjoyed the playful lion who went around offering blessings for the New Year of the Monkey and in return, I’m sure the lion appreciated the token dollar bills that were fed to him,” said HBA Admissions Director Katherine Lee. “I was excited to hear that the Chinese Club was able to invite the lion to visit our HBA campus on the actual Chinese New Year Day, February 8.”

HBA has hosted a lion dance celebration during the Chinese New Year season for more than 10 years. Like previous years, the Chinese Club rewarded the lion by gifting him li see over a head of cabbage, which was suspended from the roof of the senior pavilion. The lion had to “eat” the cabbage by breaking it up before receiving the red envelope. In return, the lion gave the school a blessing for the Year of the Monkey.

Chinese language teacher Christy Qin admires the teamwork put into the lion dance and hopes the event helped students better appreciate and understand Chinese culture. “I’ve always liked Chinese New Year. The loud drumming sound is like dance music to me. “ Qin said.

When asked whether or not this tradition would continue, Lee said, “I would love to see us keep up with this tradition as it adds a rich diversity of cultural experiences for our students.”