Ahead of Chinese New Year, which lands on Sunday, Jan. 22 this year, students at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary School put on a show for their classmates.
Mme. Anita Baturin’s grade three class marked the occasion with a dragon parade Friday, Jan. 20, spreading out beneath the cloth dragon and marching through the school as other students shook noisemakers and waved homemade lanterns.
Baturin has been doing the dragon parade since she started at the school in 2002, but the annual opportunity to share her culture still brings a tear to her eye.
“If only my mom and dad could be here,” she said. “It’s just so very important to me because I get to share a little bit of my culture with my students.”
“I get so emotional,” she laughed.
Saturday is Chinese New Year’s Eve, and Baturin says that’s typically a time when Chinese families get together for dinner and celebration.
“We celebrate, we eat, and if you look at the news in China that’s when all the families get up on the buses, planes, trains, and they fly to join with their families.”
In the classroom, Baturin’s students have been learning about the people, the history and the traditions of Chinese culture, as well as the “good luck colours” and the different numbers that are significant.
“And they’ve learned a lot about the food,” Baturin said, explaining the kids will be feasting on wonton soup that they made themselves, as well as vegetarian chow mein provided by a generous parent.
The dragon has been on a “three year sleep” due to COVID-19, but that only built up the excitement for this year’s dragon parade.
“The excitement was just over and beyond what I ever expected,” Baturin said. “So I wish everybody a happy New Year and blessings to you all.”
The dragon parade saw full participation by the entire school, with other classrooms coming out and lining the hallways to cheer the dragon on.