Students celebrate Chinese New Year

Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter

As many students may be accustomed to the tradition new year on Jan. 1, there are in fact many different new-year celebrations throughout the year. One of these, which many are most likely familiar with, is the Chinese New Year celebration.

This past Monday, the Chinese New Year was celebrated in Engleman Hall with a display of various aspects of not only the celebratory practices, but also aspects of simply Chinese culture. There was a vast amount of food, and a large turnout saw students indulging in not only the cuisine, but also the art of calligraphy and paper-crafts.

In question of what exactly the Chinese new year is, Director of the Foreign Language lab and Assistant professor of Technology, Language, and Culture Education, Professor Wu was able to define the origins of the Chinese New Year.

“The Chinese New Year, unlike the normal New Year much of the world celebrates on January first, is based on the lunar calendar,” said Wu. “The Chinese New Year is on the first full moon after the cycle ends, normally 12 months, but is typically in early February or very late January.”

This discrepancy of dates comes from the institution of what’s called the “Gregorian” calendar. The “Gregorian” calendar is the one that is generally used worldwide and ranges from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. However this may be, the Chinese New Year, similar to other cultures in the world, operates around a Lunar calendar which follows the phases and cycles of the moon, typically calling the period between two full moons one month.

Now similarly to the traditional New Years, the Chinese New Year is a very festive event, and according to Wu, the biggest one of the year in China.

“In the United States, the New Year is a very big celebration, and is similar to how the Chinese will act,” said Wu, “In China the New Year is a very large celebration. It is one where all of the family will get together and eat food, celebrate, and bring in the New Year as best as they can.”

Now, one of the common aspects of Chinese culture which has been adopted in the west is the idea of the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac are twelve animals which are representations of behaviors and ideals that align with a certain year within a twelve year cycle. With every iteration of the Chinese New Year the Chinese Zodiac, according to Wu, has a significance in the celebration and meaning of the year to come.

“Every year in the calendar is represented by an Animal in the Zodiac,” said Wu, “This year is the year of the monkey, the ninth in the cycle of twelve.”

Within the Chinese Zodiac, similar to the typical Zodiac, each sign has its own significance and supposed impact on the people who inhabit it  or were born in it. The Monkey, in the Chinese Zodiac, is a symbol of cleverness and energy. A monkey is flexible, versatile, and intelligent and the same is believed for those born of this year.

Photo Credit: IQRemix


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