Friday, April 18, 2014

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Chinese to celebrate New Year

MONMOUTH — The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the biggest national holiday for the Chinese people, Yang Gao of Shanghai said at a cultural presentation on Saturday at the Monmouth Public Library.

Lena Abounadi, 13, wins 10 yen in a red envelope. Chinese tradition is to give children money for luck, which is tucked away under a pillow on New Year’s Eve.

Emily Mentzer/Itemizer-Observer

Lena Abounadi, 13, wins 10 yen in a red envelope. Chinese tradition is to give children money for luck, which is tucked away under a pillow on New Year’s Eve.

January 28, 2014

MONMOUTH — The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the biggest national holiday for the Chinese people, Yang Gao of Shanghai said at a cultural presentation on Saturday at the Monmouth Public Library.

While the western world is nearly a month into 2014, people in China will be ringing in the year of the horse on Friday.

The Chinese New Year depends on the lunar calendar, as opposed to the American New Year, which uses the solar calendar.

"When we talk about 'year,' it sounds like the word for monster," Gao said. "People were really afraid of that, until they realized the monster is afraid of fire and red."

Each family gathers for a feast that will include a fish dish, Gao said.

"Fish sounds like the word for 'surplus,'" she explained.

Some fish will be left on the plate as a symbol of having surplus all year.

After dinner, families all across China will gather in front of the TV to watch the CCTV Festival Show, which has a variety of shows and a countdown to the New Year, Gao said.

A traditional Chinese greeting on New Year's Eve is, "May you be prosperous," Gao said.

"It's all about the luck," said Kuan Jiang of Quanxi Province in south China.

The zodiac for this year is the horse, which is good luck and fortune, Jiayun Wang of Shanghai said.

Jiang spoke about the many different cultures in his town.

The Dong people have a special oil tea they drink. Sometimes when a hot drink is made, lucky bubbles form, Jiang said.

"If the girl who can make a lot of lucky bubbles when she makes the oil tea, guys, they should marry her," Jiang said.

Anne Rohlfer, Western Oregon University international student adviser, said the best way to describe the New Year Festival is a feast like Thanksgiving, red envelopes with money like Christmas, and fireworks like the Fourth of July all rolled into one.

Check It Out

• The Western Oregon University Chinese Club will sponsor a celebration of the new year starting at 6 p.m. Friday in the Pacific Room on the WOU campus in Monmouth. The celebration will include Chinese food and performances. Tickets may be purchased for $7 general, $3 for seniors and children, at the Werner Center between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or at the International Student Office in Maaske Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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