SHREWSBURY – The Shrewsbury community gathered at Shrewsbury High School on Feb. 3 to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year officially falls on Feb. 10, and this year is the Year of the Dragon.
Hundreds of community members filled the school’s auditorium to watch the three-hour-long event, which included dozens of performances, songs and dances. Outside the auditorium, attendees bid on raffles and made celebration-related crafts.
“Chinese New Year is probably the most important part of the Chinese culture. Unity and happiness – you leave everything behind and look forward to the best,” said Weichu (Brian) Xu, the chairman of the Massachusetts Beijing Chinese Language School.
Xu has coordinated this event since 2005; he said it took six months of coordination. Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), Sen. Michael Moore (D-Milbury), Superintendent Joe Sawyer, Shrewsbury World Language Department Kenneth Almeida and two Chinese consulates were among the “VIP” attendees recognized on stage at the start of the celebration.
At the end of the event, children were given red envelopes with two-dollar bills enclosed – a Chinese New Year tradition.
“We’re acting as a bridge, a connection, to promote mutual understanding. We spread culture and serve the community,” Xu said.
People of all ages – from children to adults – participated in the fun. Although the event celebrated Chinese culture, people from all backgrounds participated in the event. Students from Shrewsbury High School and Saint John’s High School practiced their language skills on stage.
“The majority – or quite a bit – of the people you’re going to see are students from the high schools. They’re people who are interested in Chinese culture. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to experience Chinese culture instead of just reading a book,” Xu told the Community Advocate.