What is it like to celebrate the Chinese New Year?
According to Assistant Director of Student Affairs, Xue Qin Wang, “It’s like Thanksgiving times fifteen.”
Fifteen, because the Asian celebration that Assistant Director Wang says involves, “fireworks, firecrackers, food, family, and gifts,” is held over a fifteen-day period. And while FGCU won’t be celebrating for the entire fifteen days, the campus will be getting its own taste of the New Year on Monday, Feb. 11 in the Student Plaza from noon to 2 p.m.
This will be the university’s tenth celebration of the holiday. The event has been put on annually since 2004 by the combined efforts of the Office of Multicultural and Leadership Development and the Asian Culture Club.
This year, the event will involve catering from Panda Express and a performance by the Lee Koon Hung-Choy Lay Fut Chinese Martial Arts Association. The Association will put on a martial arts demonstration, as well as perform a traditional “lion dance,” which involves two dancers performing in a lion costume.
The start of the Chinese New Year is based on the first day of spring as directed by the lunar calendar. This year, the celebration will begin on Feb. 10. Each new year is in the sign of one of 12 zodiac animals, with 2013 falling under the sign of the snake. Chinese folklore sees the snake as an intelligent, introspective creature, so a “snake year” predicts great advancements in science and technology and an individual understanding of personal challenges.
The holiday is celebrated not just in China, but in many other Asian countries as well. While traditions vary by location, the basic festivities include the gifting of red envelopes full of money to children; several days of feasting and visiting with relatives; and one night full of firecrackers, fireworks, and lion dances.
The FGCU celebration on Feb. 11 is sure to be a new experience for many students. Assistant Director Wang says, “That’s what the Multicultural and Leadership Office tries to do – move beyond the textbooks and online videos and immerse students in a culture.”
This is one FGCU event you won’t want to miss.