Chinese Culture Connection Hosts 15th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration at Malden High

The 15th annual Lunar New Year celebration, hosted by the Chinese Culture Connection (CCC), took place at Malden High School. Lunar New Year, also referred to as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, is a significant traditional festival celebrated by various East and Southeast Asian countries. Marking the commencement of the lunar calendar year, it stands as a celebration of culture. 

A flyer with all the information regarding the event. Photo taken from the Malden Public Schools' website.

Each year corresponds with one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, with the previous year being the Year of the Rabbit. This year, commencing on February 10th, the Lunar New Year will honor the Year of the Dragon, described as "an embodiment of potent vitality, auspiciousness, charm, and bravery," according to the Chinese Culture Connection's website. 

Established in 1985 in Reading and later relocating to Malden in 1999, the Chinese Culture Connection is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the Chinese community of the Greater Boston Area. Offering an array of programs and events, the Chinese Culture Connection aims to foster cultural appreciation and deepen an understanding of Chinese heritage.

Photos of the handwritten spring couplets and Boston University's Chinese Traditional Clothing Club. Photos taken by Ling Zhu and submitted by the Chinese Culture Connection.

The festivities kicked off at 1:00 PM with the Lunar New Year fair, offering attendees the chance to enjoy lantern riddles with family and friends, get spring couplets penned by a calligraphy expert for good luck, and capture memories in the festival-themed photo area. Other exhibits shown at the fair include Boston University’s Chinese Traditional Clothing Club which had club members donning the traditional Chinese attire, hanfu. As explained by the Chinese Culture Connection, the “goal was to craft a diverse program that would resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds, while honoring the traditions of the Lunar New Year festivities.” In addition to these attractions, there was also a raffle event where attendees had the opportunity to win various prizes, adding an extra layer of excitement and engagement to the celebration.

By 1:30 PM, Jenkins Auditorium–adorned with Chinese lanterns hanging above–hosted the festive performance, showcasing a total of 22 acts presented by 19 talented groups. The performances listed encompassed the entirety of the event's lineup, featuring Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy’s lion dance, demonstrations of New England WUSHU Academy’s Chinese martial art skills, a live performance by "Starry Night Band," a captivating dai dance by CJT Dream Dance, an incredible kunqu opera performance by Ruoqiu Tao, a traditional dance by Mingshan Guo, an acapella performance by Boston University’s One Voice (also known as Kol Echad, a solo performance by David Liu), a melodious ensemble by Berklee’s Chinese Traditional Music Club, a showcase of traditional martial arts by Oom Yung Doe New England, a soulful guitar ensemble by the MAP Family Learning Center, and a beautiful bow and string ensemble.

Photos of the Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy's lions interacting with the crowd and performing on stage. Photos credited to SQZ_IMAGE and submitted by the Chinese Culture Connection.

The star of the performances, the Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy’s lion dance, is always met with excitement every year. This year, things were just as thrilling–the atmosphere buzzed with excitement as the lions' stomps reverberated throughout the auditorium. Their graceful motions and powerful strides sparked a rush of adrenaline among the audience. This age-old tradition is believed to bring blessings and ward off negativity. Watching the performance, onlookers couldn't help but feel the wonder wash over them.

Photo of Mingshan Guo depicted on the right performing a traditional dance. Photo credited to SQZ_IMAGE and submitted by the Chinese Culture Connection.

One student in attendance at the event, junior Yuying Chen, expressed her enjoyment of the Chinese Traditional Music Club's performance at Berklee and appreciated the inclusion of a raffle event and the evident effort put into the performances. However, Chen pointed out the occasional "screeching sounds" from the performers' microphones, calling for improvements in this aspect for future events.

The celebration also included a special unveiling. Every year, the United States Postal Service (USPS) releases a new Lunar New Year stamp corresponding to one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. This year, the new stamp, resembling a dragon, was unveiled during the celebration’s intermission by the Chinese Culture Connection, Mayor Gary Christenson (who was fitted in the attire of the God of Good Fortune), and Bill Collins–the Manager of Malden’s Post Office at the U.S. Postal Service.

The performers, crew, and Chinese Culture Connection standing together before the intermission, showcasing the new dragon stamp. Photo credited to SQZ_IMAGE and submitted by the Chinese Culture Connection.

Yet, these performances and festivities posed considerable challenges. The Chinese Culture Connection provided insight into the planning process, stating, “The 15th Annual Malden Lunar New Year Celebration was a true team effort. We started earlier than ever, beginning with brainstorming, organizing, and coordinating among various stakeholders such as performers, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and supporters.” 

Key Club members and officers standing with Mayor Christenson and Dr. Yulan Lin, President of the Chinese Culture Connection. Photo submitted by Julianna Lin.

Another of the challenges faced in planning this event was “the amount of coordination of schedules and logistics months before and during the event day,” as stated by the Chinese Culture Connection. This is further reverberated by Key Club’s Historian, Julianna Lin. Lin went on to explain that Malden High’s Key Club was approached to do crew for the event despite having a lack of experience, however, they managed to pull through and communicated behind the scenes which shined in the performances. 

The performers, crew, and Chinese Culture Connection standing together before the intermission, showcasing the new dragon stamp. Photo credited to SQZ_IMAGE and submitted by the Chinese Culture Connection.

The extensive effort invested in meticulously organizing this event was evident in both the fair and performances. However, it could not have been possible without the support of the community. As a final note, the Chinese Culture Connection “would like to express their gratitude to all the individuals and organizations who have contributed to making this year’s Lunar New Year Celebration a memorable and meaningful event,” and wishes for attendees to leave with a sense of "unity, diversity, and cultural heritage" from the festivities.

To reach out to the Chinese Culture Connection, you can find them on Instagram under the handle @chinesecultureconnection or explore their website. For upcoming events, visit this part of their website.

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