Menlo Park Library Sponsors Traditional Lunar New Year Calligraphy Class

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On Wednesday, January 24th, the Menlo Park Library hosted a free traditional calligraphy class to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year. Celebrated in various parts of Asia based on the lunisolar calendar, the 2024 Lunar New Year starts on February 10th and ends on February 20th. This year is the Year of the Dragon, which symbolizes good luck, health, and strength. Jojo Liu, a professional Chinese calligrapher who teaches classes all across the Bay Area, taught the hands-on class. Liu started her calligraphy journey when she was ten years old, inspired by her grandfather who introduced her to the art. “Calligraphy is my passion,” Liu said. “It is a very popular traditional decoration during the New Year. We use it to showcase Chinese art and culture.” 

During the class, participants learned how to hold the calligraphy brush, master basic strokes, and create Chinese characters that are popular in the new year. “福 (fu), which means happiness, is often used during the New Year for a happy and blessed year ahead. 龍 (long) means dragon which is significant this year because it’s the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac,” Liu explained. 

People of all ages and backgrounds came to the event to try this exciting and customary art form. “I enjoyed learning different characters and styles, and I am excited to hang it in my home,” one participant said. Another said, “I loved using the traditional calligraphy brush and writing my name in Chinese.”

John Weaver, Senior Program Assistant for the City of Menlo Park, said, “I like to bring cultural events to the library because it gives a learning experience to people who are new to the culture. It is also valuable for people who are growing up with the culture to see it in their community.”

“Most people were trying calligraphy for the first time, and I am glad I was able to give them this hands-on experience. I think it really makes a difference when you’re trying it versus seeing it,” Liu said.

Jenna is a sophomore and this is her first year of journalism. She is excited to write about activities and news surrounding M-A and the local community. In her free time, Jenna likes to create art and hang out with friends and family.

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