by Milan Riley and Jordin Lim
Mother’s Day is a celebration in honor of mothers, motherly figures, or those with whom we have maternal bonds, in addition to honoring the influence of mothers on society. It is celebrated on different days in over 40 countries, but most commonly in March or May. For the United States, it is scheduled on the second Sunday in May, which this year is Sunday, May 8, 2022.
The History of Mother’s Day
Celebrations of mothers occurred long ago by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of their mother goddesses. The Phrygians and those in ancient India also had festivals celebrating their goddesses. A more modern event that most likely inspired the making of Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”
Mothering Sunday occurred on Sunday, March 27 this year. This tradition dates back to the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, which had Mothering Sunday fall on the fourth Sunday in Lent. The time was to allow the faithful to return home to their “mother church” for a special service. This celebration helped inspire the idea of Mother’s Day and even merged with it in some areas around the 1930s and 1940s.
Medieval origins of Mothering Sunday
Now that we know the background for the idea, how did it actually arise? Ann Jarvis was a social activist and community organizer during the American Civil War era. Sadly, she died on May 9, 1905, but was not forgotten. One of her goals was to establish a holiday honoring mothers. Anna Jarvis, her daughter, accomplished this for her when she led the movement for the commemoration. Anna founded Mother’s Day when she held a memorial service for her late mother on May 12, 1907, in her church in Grafton, West Virginia. The celebration spread until, within five years, almost every state in the U.S. was observing the day. Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday.
However, some might be surprised to hear that Anna Jarvis actually tried to abolish the holiday that she herself started. Ms. Jarvis believed the event had become too commercialized. However, because the holiday is still celebrated today, she did not succeed in stopping Mother’s Day because too many people enjoy devoting a special day in honor of their mothers.
How Mother’s Day is Celebrated Around the World
United States: Tokens of Affections
In many U.S. households, Mother’s Day is celebrated with tokens of affection such as breakfast in bed, a bouquet of flowers, and homemade cards. Mother’s Day in the U.S. is also celebrated by giving mothers a day off from household chores or work.
India: 10-Day Festival
Each October, Hindus celebrate Durga Puja, a 10-day festival that honors the goddess of mothers, Durga.
Durga, the goddess of mothers
The puja is performed in homes and in public, the latter featuring a temporary stage and pandals, or structural decorations. The celebration is thought to date back back to the sixteenth century, considered to be both a religious ceremony and a time for family reunions. According to Hindu scriptures, the festival marks goddess Durga’s victory over the shape-shifting asura (power-seeking spiritual beings in Indic religions), Mahishasura. Therefore, the celebration embodies the victory of good over evil, whilst being a festival celebrating the goddess Durga as the motherly power behind all life and creation
Japan: The Right Flowers
After World War II, Mother’s Day in Japan became a way to comfort mothers who had lost sons due to the war. Carnations will be presented around this holiday, symbolizing the sweetness and endurance of motherhood in Japanese culture. Children would give red carnations if their mother was alive, but would display white carnations if their mother had passed away. Japanese Mother’s Day gifts include kanji (calligraphy art) prints, lacquer jewelry boxes, kokeshi dolls, and food (consisting of oyakodon, chawanmushi, and tamagoyaki).
Ethiopia: Singing, Dancing, and Cooking
At the end of the rainy season in the fall, the 3-day feast of the Antrosht festival is dedicated to mothers. As the weather clears, family members come together to their homes for a large meal and celebration, preparing “hash,” the traditional recipe of the country. Traditionally, daughters bring vegetables and cheese while sons bring the meat. With these ingredients, hash is prepared, with singing and performing dances that tell stories of family heroes.
The Antrosht Festival
Denmark: Mors Dag
The first Mother’s Day in Denmark was celebrated on Sunday the 12th of May, 1929. The idea of Mother’s Day came from America, brought to Denmark by Christian Svenningsen. The original intention of this celebration was to collect money for war widows and mothers who had lost their sons during World War I. Mors Dag (as Mother’s Day is called in Denmark) is all about flowers, as it has become a tradition to buy your mother a bouquet of flowers. Some invite their mothers out for lunch or dinner. For children that still live at home, it is tradition that the child prepares the breakfast and serves the breakfast together with a homemade card and flower.
A bouquet of flowers
Philippines: Great Respect
In the Philippines, children and fathers spend the whole day pampering their mothers and showing off their love to them. Mother’s Day in the Philippines is considered a token of showing gratitude to the immeasurable sacrifices mothers make for their families. Children in the country denote their mother by “ilaw ng tahanan”, meaning the light of the house. Mother’s Day is extraordinarily respected, and is therefore celebrated throughout the country with utmost zeal. The people in the Philippines don’t only celebrate their mothers, but for their grandmothers, cousins, aunts, and every other female member in the family. Children make cards for their mothers, while some arrange breakfast in bed for their mothers. Husbands also give gifts to their wives, or take their wives to a trip or a day of relaxation. The day begins with hearing Mass in the morning, thereafter presenting to the moms with a delicious lunch at one of their favorite restaurants.
“Thank you Mom” in FilipinoRead More
by Milan Riley and Ava-Ray Pributsky
Easter is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, the religion’s prophet. Easter is considered a “movable feast,” meaning it doesn’t occur on the same day every year. However, it is always observed between March 22 and April 25. In 2022, Easter occurred on Sunday, April 17.
Jesus Christ was a Jewish preacher and religious leader whose teachings started Christianity. Scholars estimate Jesus died between AD 30 and AD 36. According to the New Testament, Jesus died from crucifixion by the Romans in Golgotha, a place close to Jerusalem. Christians believe Jesus resurrected three days after he died on the cross. It is thought that Jesus died on Friday, now celebrated as Good Friday, and was resurrected, or returned to life, on Sunday, now celebrated as Easter.
Though Christians most likely commemorated this day earlier, the first recorded observance of Easter was in the mid-2nd century. Early Christians called this event the festival of Pascha.
One of many depictions of Jesus Christ
One common tradition of Easter is a feast. In addition, many individuals color and hide eggs for an egg hunt or give away baskets. This is because the egg symbolizes life; therefore, it has become a well-known symbol of Easter and Jesus’ resurrection that opposed death.
Practicing Christians go to church for Sunday worship as usual on Easter. Families listen to Easter music and share a special meal for the holy day.
Decorated eggs for Easter activities
Passover, or Pesach, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the story of how the Israelites escaped Egypt. This holiday is celebrated once a year and lasts for seven days. On Passover, families will hold a special meal called a seder. In English, “seder” means order. Each food that is served at the seder symbolizes a certain aspect of the holiday. At the seder, families recite prayers and blessings from the Haggadah, the book of the Exodus.
The Seder Plate
The Story of Passover
Passover is the story of the Israelites and how they escaped slavery. The story begins around 1200 B.C, when the Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, worries that the Jews will outnumber the Egyptians. He forces them into slavery and commands every Jewish boy born to be drowned in the Nile. One baby, Moses, is cast into the Nila, saved and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. When Moses gets older, he is told by God to command the Pharaoh to free the Jewish people. As a way to convince the Pharaoh, God sends to Egypt a set of Ten Plagues.
These plagues include the Nile turning to blood, frogs covering the land, the dust turning to gnats, and flies filling the houses and land. Every time one of the plagues would rain down upon Egypt, the Pharaoh would promise to free the Israelites, but every time God took the plague away, Pharaoh would change his mind again.
During the tenth and final plague, Pharaoh decides to finally free the Jews. While they are running away, however, he changes his mind, resulting in a wild chase involving the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the persuing Egyptian soldiers; eventually, the Jews return to the sacred land of Israel.
The Passover Seder
During the Passover Seder, we set out different foods that symbolize different parts of the Exodus. Five foods are placed on the table: shank bone, egg, bitter herbs, parsley in saltwater, haroset (or charoset, which is a mixture of apples, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and wine), and matzah. The shank bone represents the tenth plague on Egypt when all the firstborn Egyptian sons were killed. The egg represents the cycle of rebirth and renewal, and the cracked shell represents sacrificial offerings. The bitter herbs represent the bitter suffering of the Israelites while in slavery. The parsley in salt water represents all of the tears and pain that the Israelites experienced in Egypt. The haroset, or charoset, represents the mortar and brick used by Israelite slaves to build the pyramids and other buildings. The matzah represents how the Israelites did not have time to leaven their bread as they were escaping Egypt, so they had flat unleavened bread.
My Family’s Traditions
During Passover, my family likes to get together and have a huge seder. We sit together and connect, and we cook together. Some of the food that we eat during Passover include gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, matzah brei, and brisket. After we eat, the adults hide the afikomen. The afikomen is the middle piece of matzah that you hide, and if the children find it then they get a prize. I always find the afikomen because my parents always hide it in the same three places. My father always tells the story of how my grandfather would hide the afikomen in the strangest places. One time he hid it in the VCR!Read More
Friday – April 22, 2022
By Jordin Lim
Earth Day is a yearly celebration during which support for environmental protection is displayed through a wide range of events that are coordinated globally. Earth Day also marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. During Earth Day, awareness is raised about pollution and environmental issues as well as ways to maintain a clean environment.
How did this important commemoration come to be?
The first Earth Day was in April 1970. Before this time, there were no legal or regulatory procedures to protect our environment; there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, and no Clean Water Act.
- EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
- Clean Air Act: requires the EPA to set national emission standards for large or worldwide sources of air
- Clean Water Act: prevents, reduces, and eliminates pollution in nation’s water
In the spring of 1970, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson organized the first Earth Day and rallies by 20 million Americans in various U.S. cities raising awareness about environmental issues took place across the country. This movement was successful and by December of 1970, the U.S. government had created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By 1990, Earth Day was an event celebrated by more than 140 countries around the globe.
How can you help protect Earth this Earth Day?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Plenty of you have surely heard of the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but what are some ways you can incorporate this saying into your daily life?
- Reduce: Reduce means to cut back on the amount of trash that is produced. One main way to reduce is to compost, which can be done by creating a mixture of food scraps that will eventually turn into pure organic nutrition that can be used for fertilizing and conditioning land. Also, purchasing items with less packaging is another way to cut back on your trash footprint.
- Reuse: To reuse means to find new ways to use items that would otherwise be thrown into the garbage. For example, an easy way to reuse is to use plastic food containers you may get from ordering take-out as a portable food storage for snacks.
Recycle: Recycling involves processing something regarded as “trash” into a new item, thereby saving materials and resources. An easy way to recycle is to create a can just for recyclable material (if you don’t have one already). Materials that can be recycled include glass, cardboard, aluminum, and lead batteries. If you are eating out, throw recyclable material in a recycle bin, if one is available.
Plant a tree: Not only do trees provide us with oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide, they also function as shelter for animals such as squirrels and owls. If you plant one in your yard, you can even use it as shade during hotter months, which can help in keeping our homes cooler.
Limit electricity and water usage: Both electricity and water are limited sources, so excessive use of them is not beneficial to our planet. Electricity is most commonly produced from fossil fuels, which greatly contribute to climate change; as fossil fuels are burned, they release vast amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. As more greenhouse gasses are trapped in our atmosphere, more global warming is caused. Although electricity can come from other sources such as wind and the sun, it is still important to conserve electricity, so turn off that lamp whenever you can.
Water is a limited resource and less than one percent of water on Earth can be used by humans, due to the fact the rest is either too salty or difficult to obtain. Turning off the faucet whenever not in active usage or taking shorter showers can greatly reduce the amount of water we use.
Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to contribute your time to helping clean our Earth. You can volunteer at local parks to pick up trash or maybe even begin a drive to collect recyclable items. In addition, if you’re ever taking a walk outside and see some trash on the ground, don’t hesitate to pick it up and place it in the nearest trash can. It’s really as simple as that!Read More
by Daniel Svediani
This February, our very own Middle School Science Bowl Team successfully qualified for the National Science Bowl competition in Washington, D.C. by winning the Southern California regional Science Bowl competition! We are overjoyed by our students’ performance and would like to congratulate each and every team member. Our star five-person team consists of Naira Badalyan (7th grade), Saket Pamidipathri (8th grade), Ryan Lee (8th grade), Sean Yeh (8th grade), and Eric Chung (6th grade), and we would like to individually congratulate each and every one of them for their incredible performance as well as their amazing co-coaches, Ms. Musial and Jaden Penhaskashi. This has been a dream come true and the Science Bowl Club has been building up to this moment since we moved to our new North Hollywood location. In 2019, our middle school team placed in the top five; in 2020, our middle school team placed third; in 2021, our middle school team placed second; and this year we finally placed first!
So, in honor of all of our past and current Science Bowl team members, we wanted to enlighten everyone with the history of the Science Academy Science Bowl team by interviewing the team’s founder, Jaden Penhasakshi:
“In 2016, I was lucky enough to be able to create our middle school’s first Science Bowl team thanks to the help of previous coach and current Science Academy teacher, Mr. Knauss. At the time, Science Bowl was uncharted territory, but we were ready to accept any challenges in an effort to increase our knowledge and understanding of scientific studies. We formed a team of five people, four of whom attend Science Academy to this day, and we began our journey.
“We spent our first few years learning from our mistakes and gaining experience, but we only truly began to flourish during our third year of competition, where we placed second place in the Southern California regionals with the help of one of our school’s science teachers, Ms. DiMonaco. The next year we placed third and the following year, second again. It was a grueling process, but coming so close to advancing and qualifying for Nationals constantly pushed us to work harder and harder year after year.
“During the same time, our oldest middle school competitors advanced to the high school tournament, a difficult transition, because the majority of teams at the competition were composed of seniors, while our school only had freshmen. Similar to our middle school experience, we never gave up working harder and harder each year, seeing the fruits of our labor ripen as we slowly climbed in ranking.
“And that leads us to where we are today. Our current coach Ms. Musial has hosted our club for the past year and her help as well as all of our previous coaches has undoubtedly brought us the victory that we are proud to have today. We currently have four teams, two middle school teams and two high school teams, and hope they achieve similar success within the coming years. So let’s cross our fingers for all of our Science Bowl teams and wish them luck!”
Feel free to talk to Ms. Musial or any of the Science Academy Science Bowl members if you are interested in joining the team and check out our website to find out more about Science Bowl: https://stemsciencebowl.weebly.com/
Our first Science Bowl team.
Our current Science Bowl team.
From left to right: Jaden (student coach), Naira Badalyan,
Saket Pamidipathri, Ryan Lee, Sean Yeh, Eric Chung
by Jordin Lim
Saint Patrick’s Day, well known for clever leprechaun-catching and for pinching those not wearing green, has an interesting history and fascinating traditions. Saint Patrick’s Day traditionally takes place on March 17th, but how did this day come to be?
The Origins of Saint Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. Born in Roman Britain and alive during the fifth century, Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle.
After being kidnapped by a group of Irish raiders who had been attacking his family’s estate, he was brought to Ireland at age 16, where he spent six years in captivity. During this time in captivity, Patrick worked as a shepherd, away from people. His feelings of loneliness and fear caused him to turn to religion as a sort of consolation, eventually becoming a devout Christian. According to his writings, Patrick escaped after he had heard the voice of God telling him to leave Ireland. Upon his return to Britain, Patrick is said to have experienced another revelation, one of an angel telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Upon his return to Ireland, he is said to have brought Christianity to its people.
The mythology of Saint Patrick’s life is deeply ingrained in Irish culture. Perhaps the best known legend of Saint Patrick is his explanation of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) with the usage of the three leaves of the shamrock, a native Irish clover. Another well known legend regarding Saint Patrick was that of him driving snakes out of Ireland by chasing them into the sea, until they began attacking him during a 40-day fast he undertook while atop a hill. Saint Patrick also used bonfires to celebrate Easter, since the Irish were used to celebrating their gods with fires. The Celtic cross was created when Patrick superimposed a sun onto the Christian cross, so that reverence of the new symbol seemed more natural to the Irish people.
Although Saint Patrick is known for being the patron saint of Ireland, he was never canonized, or made a saint, by the Catholic Church, simply due to the era he lived in: during the first millennium, no formal canonization process was present in the Catholic Church. However, as he helped spread Christianity throughout Ireland, Patrick was proclaimed to be a saint due to popular acclaim rather than an official proceeding.
By the time of his death, said to have been on March 17, 461, Saint Patrick had established monasteries, missionaries, and churches. Therefore, his religious service is commemorated on March 17th every year. In general, Saint Patrick’s Day is the global celebration of Irish culture, particularly remembering Saint Patrick. This day is celebrated in most countries with people of Irish descent.
Saint Patrick’s Day Traditions
There are several traditions that are associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. There are also some that are carried out to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.
The Shamrock: The shamrock, also called the “seamory” by the Celts, is well known for being associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. It was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland due to the fact that it represented the rebirth of spring. The shamrock eventually became the symbol of emerging Irish nationalism during the 17th century. As the English began conquering Irish land, many Irish people began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride and heritage.
Music: Music, in general, has been associated with Saint Patrick’s Day and Irish culture. The Celts had an oral culture, in which their religion, legends, and history were passed down by stories and songs. After being conquered by the English, the Irish turned to music to allow them to remember important events and to hold onto their history and heritage. However, music was then outlawed by the English. Today, traditional Irish bands use the same instruments that have been used for centuries, such as the fiddle, bagpipe, and the tin whistle.
The Snake: As previously mentioned, Saint Patrick was fabled to have driven snakes out of Ireland, only to be attacked by them during a 40-day fast he carried out on a hill. However, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing of snakes” was a metaphor for the removal of pagan ideology and the success of Christianity.
Food: During the celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day, traditional Irish foods such as corned beef and cabbage are plentiful.
Leprechauns: The most renowned icon of Saint Patrick’s Day is most likely the leprechaun, figures of folklore who were believed to have come from the Celtic beliefs in fairies. In Celtic folklore, leprechauns were said to be cranky souls who were responsible for mending the shoes of other fairies. They were well known for trickery, often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Many people dress up as leprechauns on St Patrick’s Day.Read More
by Julia Shin
Congratulations to all of the Science Fair winners and good luck to all of the winners for County!
1st Place – Tanishga Thankaraj Vijay & Harshini Manikandan
Project Title: Determining Factors that Affect a Fan’s Performance
This fusion of an experiment and an engineering project was focused on determining which type of blade shape will generate the most voltage. Tanishga and Harshini created five common fan blades from cardboard and attached a bottle cap and a rod of a DC motor to the blades to complete the fan. Then, all of the five fans were positioned facing a house fan (maintaining equal distance and speed for each fan) as a multimeter measured the electricity generated. They discovered, the purple fan, as shown above, was the best design. As Tanishga and Harshini have an interest in the field of wind energy, they wanted to understand better how fans work, like the ones used in everyday life. From this project, they learned how the most important factors affecting a fan’s performance are the number of fan blades, the surface area, and the angle. Furthermore, they learned about the various fans and each of their unique purposes. Thus, they learned about the balance between having the least number of blades, however, not letting that comprise the loudness of the sound created by the fan or the fan’s effectiveness.
2nd Place – Jasper Mejia
Project Title: Solar Mini Fridge V2
This engineering project was inspired by Jasper’s mom, who’s a Type 1 diabetic. Being a diabetic, she requires insulin to survive. Thus, for emergency purposes, when electricity may be unavailable, this solar-powered mini-fridge stores and cools insulin for insulin to be useable (for the fridge to be successful, it much reach a temperature between 34.0˚F – 40.0˚F). Also, since the fridge is solar-powered, it eliminates using multiple batteries just once. As Jasper shared, he believes this project could help people around the globe who have pre-existing conditions. From this project, he learned about various techniques of heat transfer and how to use different insulators to counter each of those methods. For example, he used wood, foam, and aluminum since they are all materials used to stop the heat. Additionally, he learned about how to have a polished final project, many prototypes have to be created and constantly revised.
3rd Place – William Kim
Project Title: Detecting Ink Levels With Image Processing
The purpose of this engineering project was to create an efficient and easy-to-use indicator that notifies the user how much ink is left inside a pen. Before using the pen, the ink level is determined and shown to the user so the ink container does not have to be removed (yet, this prototype mostly requires taking out the ink container to use it). William chose this project because he believed being able to view how much ink is left in a pen is very practical for daily life and it would help numerous people. From this project, he shared he learned that image processing can be very useful and that other future technological developments can solve other various common problems.
Honorable Mention – Iden Stein & Jamieson Wong
Project Title: The Odds of Cheating in Blackjack
The purpose of this experiment was to stimulate methods to count blackjack cards and discover how much money people collected from their bets. As Iden shared, he believed, “creating a blackjack simulation that card counts tens of millions of hands in minutes is absolutely awesome.” From this project, Iden and Jamieson learned that in simulations, there aren’t big differences in different card counting methods yet in real life, there are big differences.Read More
by Desmond Devine
Lunar New Year is celebrated by many cultures, including the Chinese New Year, and it begins with the first new moon of the year and ends with the full moon that occurs about fifteen days after the new moon. Every Lunar New Year is represented with one of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, each representing different personality traits. The signs repeat in a twelve year cycle. Each animal is also given the properties of one of five elements: earth, fire, metal, water, and wood. Each cycle of signs is given its own element, and the cycle of elements repeats itself every five sign cycles. This year is the year of the Water Tiger. The Water Tiger represents courage, strength, and the forces of good.
Chinese New Year
It is believed that Chinese New Year has been celebrated since the 14th century B.C., during the time of the Shang Dynasty. Around 100 B.C. was when the tradition of doing rituals on Chinese New Year began. The rituals served to honor the gods in hopes of a good harvest. The Chinese government led under Communist leader Mao Zedong ceased celebration of Chinese New Year in 1949. Towards the end of the 20th century, the government became more open to Chinese New Year celebrations and gave people a week off during a period known as the Spring Festival. Today people celebrate by being with their families, giving money to others in red envelopes, and eating traditional foods such as fish, dumplings, moon cakes, and rice ball soup. At the end of the celebration, the Lantern Festival occurs in which people light colorful lanterns to decorate their homes as well as participating in games, parades, and dances. Firework displays also celebrate the end of the Spring Festival. The lighting and letting go of the lanterns symbolizes letting go of people’s past transgressions.
Vietnamese New Year
Vietnam’s Lunar New Year is known as Tet Nguyen Dan and usually shortened to just “Tet”. It spans 5-7 days, beginning on the same day as Chinese New Year, and also marks the beginning of Spring. During this time, Vietnamese people give reverence to their ancestors and hold family reunions. People are mindful, believing that what they do during Tet will affect the rest of the year. Before Tet, families clean and decorate their homes, family shrines, and the graves of deceased family members. People light incense and leave offerings of fruit and flowers on the shrines along with pictures of ancestors, similar to the traditions of Día de los Muertos in Mexico. Traditional foods are enjoyed, such as banh chung, a ball of rice filled with meat or bean paste and wrapped in banana leaves, and xoi, Vietnamese sticky rice.
A picture of a dragon dance
Korean New Year
In Korea, Lunar New Year is known as Seollal and is celebrated similarly to Chinese New Year. When Japan annexed Korea from 1910 to 1945, Lunar New Year was officially stopped. Celebrations made a comeback in 1989, and the day of celebration shifted to occur based on the lunar calendar. Families participate in a ritual in which reverence is given to ancestors and the elderly. In both North and South Korea, traditional dishes include sliced rice cake soup, which marks a person’s Lunar Calendar Birthday upon consumption. Games are played, such as Yut Nori, a relay race where players move depending on how they throw colored sticks, which function similarly to dice.
A bowl of rice cake soup
Mongolian New Year
Lunar New Year is known as Tsagaan Sar in Mongolia and shares many characteristics with Chinese New Year. For example, it uses the same zodiac as China to name new years. It was created in 1206 under the rule of Chinggis Khan. On Bituun, the evening of the day before Lunar New Year begins, families gather at the home of the oldest member to have a feast and play games. On the first day, before the sun rises, people make milk tea and visit their elders. Traditional meals eaten during Tsagaan Sar include buuz, dumplings filled with minced beef or lamb, and ul boov, long biscuits stacked on plates. Since Tsagaan Sar feasts are large, families have to start cooking them days in advance.
A traditional Tsagaan Sar greeting, in which a person greets an old relative by placing their hands below the other’s arms and saying “Amar baina uu”, meaning, “How are you?”
Tibetan New Year
In Tibet, New Year is known as Losar and takes place on December 29th on the Tibetan lunar calendar. Celebrations last two weeks. It was created after the marriage of Princess Wencheng of Han and the King of Tibet, Songtsan Gampo in 641 AD, which united the two nations. In the streets people sing and perform dances and act out battles. The two days before the new year are called “Gutor”. On the first day, families clean their homes. On the second day, people perform religious ceremonies and give to charity. On the first day of New Year, families come together for a reunion dinner and give each other presents. On the second day, families visit their friends and relatives. On the third day, families visit monasteries and hang prayer flags on the tops of houses and along mountains. A traditional food eaten during Losar is guthuk, a soup with dumplings. The ingredients the chef puts in a person’s dumplings is a playful commentary on their personality.
by Milan Riley
Black History Month is a national occasion celebrated during the month of February. This is a time to appreciate authors, inventors, political figures, scientists, and cultural leaders of African descent for their important contributions. The observance first began in the United States on January 2, 1970 and has been annually observed ever since. In addition, it is celebrated in Canada and the United Kingdom.
The Origin of Black History Month
The roots of Black History Month began with African American History Week. Historian Carter G. Woodson organized the first African American History Week in the second week of February to commemorate the achievements of Black Americans. He choose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, who both contributed so much to the emancipation of African Americans. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures. Though the event transformed into Black History Month in 1970, it wasn’t official until 1976, when President Gerald Ford first recognized the observance.
Carter G. Woodson
Celebrated Individuals in Black History
Notable African American Figures
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an activist and peaceful protester for African American rights during the 1950’s and 60’s. As a Baptist minister, Martin Luther King Jr. also led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was born on January 15, 1929 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968 after delivering his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” the preceding day. King’s most famous speech was made on August 28, 1963, called “I Have a Dream.” Martin Luther King, Jr. greatly contributed to the end of segregation through his support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Martin Luther King. Jr delivering “I Have a Dream”
Rosa Parks was an American civil rights activist best known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott. She initiated the movement by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus in 1955, thereby helping to end segregation in public transportation. Rosa was born on February 4, 1913, and died on October 24, 2005. She received many awards such as the Congressional Gold Medal, Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Rosa Parks on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama
Born in 1924, Shirley Chisholm ran for New York State Assembly in 1964 and became the first African American congresswoman when she was elected in 1968. Shirley continued to serve from 1969 to 1983 before becoming the first African American of a major political party to run for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. Her well-known campaign slogan was “Unbought and Unbossed.” Of her legacy, Chisholm said, “I want to be remembered as a woman … who dared to be a catalyst of change.”
Rep. Shirley Chisholm
John Baxter Taylor, Jr.
Born on November 3, 1882, John Taylor was a record-setting athlete in track and field before he died on December 2, 1908. As a quarter-miler for his college, John set a world record of 49.1 seconds for the 440-yards in 1903. In 1907, John set a new record of 48.6 seconds in the same event and became the indoor champion for 600 yards. A year later, John Taylor became the first African American to win an Olympic Gold Medal after participating in the 1908 Summer Olympics Men’s medley relay.
John Baxter Taylor, Jr.
Hattie McDaniel started her entertainment career as a band vocalist in the 1910s and later debuted as an actress in The Golden West (1932). She was born on June 10, 1893 and died on October 26, 1952. Hattie was best known for her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind (1939). Her performance earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress that same year, making her the first African American to win an Oscar.
Hattie McDaniel receiving an Oscar
Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. is an American aerospace engineer, retired U.S Air Officer and fighter pilot, as well as a former NASA astronaut. Guion was born on November 22, 1942, and is currently 79 years old. He flew 144 combat missions during the Vietnam war and was one of the 10,000 applicants selected by NASA’s competition to become space shuttle astronauts. On August 30, 1983, he became a crew member of the STS-8 mission and the first African American to go to space. Afterwards, Guion completed missions STS-61A, STS-39, and his last journey, STS-53, on December 2, 1992. Guion was awarded the Air Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
Guion Bluford in spaceRead More
UPDATE: Congratulations to our winners!
1st place: Daniel T., 6th grade
2nd place: Jillian C., 7th grade
3rd place: Jordan R., 6th grade
by Milan Riley
It’s that time of year again: Spelling Bee Season! Spelling bees were designed to help students improve their spelling skills and broaden their vocabulary. Every year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee is held, giving students from across America an opportunity to participate in an exciting event with a long and storied history.
The History of Scripps National Spelling Bee
In 1908, the National Education Association (NEA) held what is recognized as the first national spelling bee in America. Maria Bolden, a 14-year-old girl from Cleveland, was named the champion. Seventeen years later, the first annual Scripps National Spelling Bee was held in Washington, D.C on June 17, 1925. The event was sponsored by The Courier-Journal, a newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky. The Courier-Journal was the result of a merge between nine newspapers, and it started the event to promote literacy in America. Nine finalists competed in this occasion, with 11-year-old Frank Neuhaser of Kentucky placing first by spelling the word “gladiolus” correctly. Frank received $500 in gold coins for this feat. Now, more than 90 years later, the Scripps Spelling Bee has become a beloved tradition, televised around the world.
The nine finalists of the first Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The Current National Spelling Bee
After The Courier-Journal, the E.W Scripps Company became the non-profit sponsor for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This year, in 2022, there will be 562 contestants and the bee will be televised to nearly 120 million households. Each year’s winner of the National Scripps Spelling Bee receives a $50,000 cash prize, commemorative medal, and the Scripps Cup. In addition, Merriam-Webster, a publishing company best known for their well-regarded dictionary, awards the champions $2,500.
Merriam-Webster Unabridged is the official dictionary of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Bee and Merriam-Webster have worked together for over 50 years to bring challenging words to the event.
The Scripps Cup
Rules of the Spelling Bee
Participants in the spelling bee cannot be older than 15 as of August 31 in the year before the competition. In addition, they cannot be past the 8th grade as of February 1 in the year of the spelling bee. In addition, previous winners are not allowed to compete again. Finally, to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee (SNSB), the contestants’ schools must be officially enrolled in the SNSB program.
Contestants can ask for alternate pronunciations, parts of speech, definitions or for the word to be used in a sentence. If a student spells their word correctly, they move onto the next round. If a student spells their word incorrectly, they’re eliminated. However, if all contestants spell their word incorrectly in a round, the round is redone with every contestant of that round.
A contestant’s answer is formatted specifically, first they repeat the word, spell the word, and say the word again to indicate they’re finished. Students can start over in the middle of spelling, although they cannot change the letters, or their order, that they already said. In addition, capitalization and punctuation is not needed when spelling a word.
A tense moment during the Scripps National Spelling Bee
The Science Academy 2022 Spelling Bee Finalists
This year, the Science Academy is pleased to congratulate the following students for winning their class bees:
The School-Wide Spelling Bee will take place on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 in the auditorium from per. 2 to per. 4. Parents and guardians are invited to attend. The one winner of the School Bee will advance to the Regional Spelling Bee on Sunday, March 13, 2022. The one overall winner of the Regional Bee will progress to the National Spelling Bee, which will take place the week of Memorial Day 2022 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Good luck, everyone!
Edit: The winner of The Science Academy STEM Magnet’s middle school spelling bee was 6th grader Daniel Tang. Congratulations and good luck at the regionals on March 12th!Read More
by Julia Shin
As Edith Lovejoy Pierce, a 20th century poet, once said, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Many people look forward to the new year and are excited for New Year’s Eve, a famous celebration, on December 31st. Many people attend New Year’s Eve parties where people eat, drink, and spend time with friends and family. In hopes of a good new year with good health, happiness, and prosperity, many countries have unique and fun New Year’s Eve traditions. Some unique traditions around the world include smashing plates and throwing white flowers into the ocean.
1. Denmark: Smashing Plates
If you visit Denmark on New Year’s Eve, you may be surprised to see smashed china at people’s front doors yet Danes find pride in broken dishes at their front door. In fact, the bigger pile of dishes in front of your house indicates more luck you will have in the upcoming year! A popular Danish tradition is to throw china at your friends’ and neighbors’ front doors. Many unused plates are saved for this unusual occasion. Smashing china, particularly plates, leaves behind any hostility or ill feelings before the new year.
2. Brazil: Throwing white flowers into the ocean & wearing colorful underwear.
White represents peace and, for this reason, white is incorporated into New Year’s Eve traditions in Brazil. For example, white is worn on New Year’s Eve and white flowers and candles are thrown into the ocean. Throwing flowers and candles are offerings given to Yemoja, the African Goddess of the Ocean (who is honored in both Brazil and Africa). These offerings are given in hope of a good new year. Although people in Brazil may wear white, they are still colorful! On New Year’s Eve, people’s underwear should be new and colorful. Different colors of underwear have different meanings. For example, yellow represents wealth, white means peace, pink indicates love, and red represents passion.
3. Spain: Eating grapes in hopes of a good new year.
When the bell strikes midnight, Spaniards will eat exactly 12 grapes, one grape at each of the 12 bell strikes after midnight. Losing count of how many grapes are eaten or bell strikes means bad luck. This tradition began in the 1800s when vine growers created this tradition to sell more grapes near the end of the year. However, this tradition became more popular and was later cemented as a yearly tradition. Therefore, supermarkets and street vendors sell little plastic bags of 12 grapes to sell to locals. Spaniards hope this tradition will bring a year of good fortune and success.
4. Czech Republic: Cutting Apples
An apple is cut on New Year’s Eve which determines everyone’s fate nearby. When cut, if the apple’s core looks like a star, everyone will gain happiness and health. However, if the core looks like a cross, then bad things are expected to come. For example, someone may fall ill at the New Year’s party.
So while many of you are familiar with the tradition of watching the ball drop in Times Square, enjoying the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, and making resolutions for the new year, perhaps consider incorporating some of these fun traditions into your celebration next year!Read More