I remember going to Josiah Quincy school and Chinese New Year being a pretty big deal The mayor never showed up that I recall (but maybe he did) I remember Mr. Walter Chan lighting firecrackers in the gym over a metal trash can and it was interesting because all the non Chinese kids would be freaking out but the Chinese kids were all used to it. Back then Chinatown would look like it snowed red after the parade.
I vaguely remember some lion dancing but what really stands out are the memories of learning.
Chinese New Year songs. Yeah there was that one. And another one by "Jenny" who was mixed and it went Jook Fook nei, joy nei yut sung wui. Bak shuet Gong tau gong hei" or something like that. In any case I can't find it on Youtube.
What was cool was that everyone learned the song. Later when i went to Nativity and my mom (who was white) packed noodles for my lunch and there was almost a Fresh Off the Boat moment, where another kid wanted to say "eww what is that" Keimani Bell, who was the biggest kid in are grade.. and could almost dunk, was like, "Yo shut up, that's lo mein that's mad good." And there was never a mention of it again. Keimani had gone to JQS for a year or two, and could therefore say certain foods in Chinese, say most of the really nasty swear words, in addition to "be quiet" (which was how shut up was translated so you would always hear all these black kids saying the really nasty thing about your mother and then Mo Cho, as if those two phrases were equally as crude.
My point is, Keimani had absorbed some of the Chinese culture, and then stepped in on my behalf when I was about to be ostracized because my mother (who had also absorbed some of the culture) had packed me a lunch that was not the mainstream
(Photo Credits: Sherry Dong)
What I'm saying is these types of celebrations and cultural intercations are pretty important.