Celebrating the Chinese New Year

Bethany English

Kent State Celebrates Chinese New Year

2010 is the year of the tiger in traditional Chinese culture. Every year, one of 12 animals serves as a mascot for the upcoming year and the Chinese New Year celebration.

See and hear what the event was all about.

Liwea Li, president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, explained the importance of the 12 animals.

“Each animal represents a group quality,” Li said. For example, he was born in the year of the dog, which means he should be very loyal and friendly, he said. People born this year, will be powerful like tigers, Li added.

Zuting Liu, a freshman advertising major, said this celebration is a “really big event in China.” She said the importance of this holiday is similar to Christmas for Americans because families get together for a large dinner including the traditional dumplings. Then, they exchange “red pockets.”

Older family members give red envelopes with money inside to children until the children are old enough to provide for themselves.

Red is associated with the new year because it symbolizes luck and happiness, Liu said. Those who are born in a tiger year wear red when it is their mascot’s year to protect themselves from evil, she said.

“They will be blessed, and it will be a special year for them,” Li said of people celebrating their animal years.

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association drew tickets to distribute red envelopes to those at the Chinese New Year celebration. As they handed out the prizes, Xu Zhimin, a Mandarin Chinese teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School and Stanton Middle School, made a small speech.

“This is a great opportunity for Chinese students to communicate with each other and share the happiness,” she said. “It’s a good chance for Americans in the community to learn about the culture.”

Zhimin encouraged everyone to “be as strong, powerful and lucky as the tiger in the year of the tiger.”

Li said he felt the celebration was a success. This celebration was the first Chinese Spring Festival hosted by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, and Li hopes for more in the future.

“The number of Chinese students is growing dramatically,” Li said. “Next year will be even better.”

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Bethany English at [email protected].