With the Chinese New Year in full swing, students in Terry Merritt’s class at Lanigan Elementary School were able to take part in the celebration with the help of local restaurateur Annie Chen.
Chen, the owner of Dragon City Chinese Restaurant in Fulton, visited her son’s classroom recently to discuss the holiday and offer a sampling of food from her dining establishment.
With help from her son, Charlie, the pair showed pictures that depicted Chinese culture.
They also discussed the differences between their New Year celebration and the Jan. 1 celebration that is embraced by other cultures throughout the world.
Students learned that 2014, the year of the horse, began Jan. 31 with a cleansing process.
“In China the new year starts with everyone cleaning the house,” Annie Chen said. “It symbolizes a fresh start.”
In addition starting off 2014 with a clean slate by scrubbing the house from top to bottom, the New Year celebration also revolves around family and food, Annie Chen said.
Since she is a professional when it comes to Chinese food, students had an opportunity to get a real taste of Chinese culture by indulging in sweet and sour chicken, lo Mein and sugary treats for dessert.
Although not every student was able to master their chopsticks, each walked away with a full belly and a better appreciation for Chinese culture.