Happy (Lunar) New Year (Feb. 7)

February 5, 2008

It’s next to impossible to catch even half an hour of world news lately without hearing about the chaos caused by snowstorms in China as the Chinese New Year approaches.  It seems very “over there” in some ways, but in fact Thursday’s new year celebration is a big event for many in our community, and it’s not tough to find a way to share in it.  There are Asian restaurants serving traditional foods, for example, and there are many educational institutions that will be commemorating the Year of the Rat too.

One of those is Governor French Academy in Belleville.   It’s a grammar and college prep school with a diverse student body — and a group of teachers and administrators who are willing to share their vision with the community by way of open-door events.  The celebration on Thursday, Feb. 7, starts at 6 p.m. with a potluck supper.  Authentic Asian foods are encouraged — and I love potlucks like that because you know you’ll find traditional dishes that restaurants don’t serve — but you don’t have to bring authentic food, or even know much about the lunar new year, for that matter.  At 7:15 p.m. there will be presentations by various dignitaries, followed by performances of Chinese and Korean dance and music and a display of Taiwanese painting and weaving in the school’s gallery.  The grand finale is a Lion Dance.

I have high expectations for this event for a couple of reasons.  The academy places Chinese language study on the same level as Spanish, complete with a native Mandarin speaker as the teacher, and its diverse student body includes pupils from Korea who’ve no doubt had a big hand in shaping this event.  But even if there were no live experts on hand, I think the school would put on a respectable show.  After all, none of its students or teachers were around during the renaissance, but it staged a very successful festival on that theme a while back.

And if you’re seeking a truly authentic rendition of the Lion Dance, check out the Shaolin Lohan Pai Lion Dance Troupe, a St. Louis group that touts itself as one of the nation’s finest.  It’s performing tonight at 6 p.m. at the St. Louis Public Library’s Buder Branch, as well as restaurants in coming days.  To see its schedule, visit its homepage.

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2 Responses to “Happy (Lunar) New Year (Feb. 7)”

  1. Mutha Mae Says:

    I cannot BELIEVE I missed the performance at Buder! AHHHHH I had no idea!! AHHH!!!

  2. mom22kids Says:

    I stumbled on that Buder Library performance notice late myself — but next year I’ll be on the lookout ahead of time! It sounds fabulous.

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