Colorful Creations for Lunar New Year

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Carmel High School art students in Danielle Marino’s classes created colorful, festive and fun decorations to adorn the building’s atrium.

The Lunar New Year celebration, which is one of the most important holidays in Asian cultures, began this week and will continue for more than two weeks worldwide. The celebration, also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, marks the end of the winter season. Each year is dedicated to a specific animal, thought to bestow its characteristics on the people born during the year – and this year begins the year of the Rabbit. The celebration traditionally concludes with a Lantern Festival where children visit temples at night carrying paper lanterns.

Students working on paper mache lantern project

To honor the tradition, students in the high school’s Mixed Media classes spent several class periods creating paper mâché lanterns featuring intricate cut-out images of meaningful and traditional Chinese designs including rats, koi fish, dragons and more. The students also created their own colored tassels to hang from the bottom of their lanterns.

“We learned about the significance of these Chinese traditions,” said student Riley Salisbury of the project. “It was cool to have the opportunity to see another culture.”

Through the project, student Aleksandra Ryzak learned the traditional ways the new year is honored: “Chinese New Year is celebrated with decorations and fireworks. Most importantly, it is spent with friends and family.”

Student Joshua Grant learned a specific tradition related to cleaning: “If you clean on the first day of Chinese New Year, you might wash away your good luck.”

While learning about and respecting a tradition with a long and significant history, the students were able to put their own creative touches on their lanterns.

“I liked how we were able to express ourselves,” said student Annalise Summa. “It was fun and allowed us to show our creativity.”

“It was really cool to be able to personalize the lanterns to ourselves,” said student Libby Cornell.

No Lunar Year celebration would be complete without a dragon, and the atrium display in the building also includes a large dragon sculpture created by students in the Adaptive Mixed Media classes. In Chinese culture, dragons are believed to bring good luck and are often seen in parades and festivals during the Lunar New Year. The students utilized their 6C collaboration skills creating pieces that, when put together, formed the body of a dragon.

The lanterns and dragon sculpture will be on display in the building throughout the Lunar New Year holiday.