A Chinese New Year ‘Lantern Festival’ at Sponge

Families and children commemorated the Chinese New Year with a “Lantern Festival” on Feb. 6 at Sponge in Issaquah from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Chinese New Year 2010 – the Year of the Tiger – falls on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Often referred to as the Lunar New Year, the first day of the Chinese calendar usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The “Lantern Festival” is usually held 15 days after the new year to mark the end of the festivities, but language teachers at Sponge decided to mark the holiday a little early.

Children spent time with language immersion instructors learning to speak Mandarin and French through question and response and repetition exercises, while the adults noshed on Chinese dumplings and tea.

Sponge teacher Yan Ye knelt down next to 5-year-old Madalyn Fischer and offered her a small plush-toy dumpling to her.

Xie xie,” Madalyn said, which means “thank you” in Mandarin Chinese.

In another room, parents and children assembled decorative paper Chinese lanterns with colored construction paper, scissors and a little bit of glue.

Sponge Issaquah is located at 375 NW Gilman Blvd., Suite B101.