Asians are partying like it's 4072
Roosters crowed-in the year 4072 last week -- as did many Chinese and East Asians. New Lunar Year celebrations started Wednesday. Nan Yang, president of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association (CSSA) at the University of Minnesota Duluth, sa...
Roosters crowed-in the year 4072 last week -- as did many Chinese and East Asians. New Lunar Year celebrations started Wednesday.
Nan Yang, president of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association (CSSA) at the University of Minnesota Duluth, said the holiday is the most exciting and important of the year.
"It's like the Chinese Christmas," Yang said.
The first day of the new year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Because of this, the holiday will fall on a different day each year. The celebration then lasts for 15 days.
"The new year is a time for family and a time for all of the Chinese people in the area to organize and communicate," Yang said.
The CSSA is having a New Year's celebration at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, in the Griggs Center on the UMD campus.
Yang said the event will be a formal-dress celebration with traditional Chinese food, games and some karaoke.
Yang said that the New Year's celebration is free, and anyone who would like to honor the holiday or learn more is welcome to come.
Outside of UMD, many Chinese and Asian Americans in the area have been preparing for the big celebration for weeks.
Duluth's First Oriental Grocery, 1131 E. Fourth St., is filled with intriguing and traditional oriental cooking supplies. Brightly colored packages and dainty paper lamps fill the shop with life, and a special display of New Year's candies and brilliant red envelopes dominates near the front counter.
Families celebrating the new year will give monetary gifts wrapped in these lucky red envelopes. The amount of money in the envelope is considered lucky as well.
In China and other East Asian countries, a large meal will be served on New Year's Eve. Then, on the first day of the new year, people celebrate in the streets with dragon and lion dancers as well as firecrackers.
Rosemary Cappocci has been "working and learning" at the Oriental grocery store. She said the shop has been a really energizing place to be in the last few weeks because of all the preparation and anticipation of the New Year's celebration.
"I think this place is making it possible for the Asian culture in Duluth to retain their identities and perpetuate their traditions," Cappocci said.
The new year tradition dates back to 2600 B.C. when Chinese Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
According to the Chinese zodiac, it is the Year of the Rooster. People who are turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60 and other units of 12 are roosters.
Roosters are independent and flamboyant. They like to showcase their talents and are proud and unwavering workers. But roosters are often accused of being overly confident and detail oriented.
In addition to the rooster, the Chinese zodiac has 11 other animals, the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, dog and boar.
"This is the year of the Rooster, but next year is the dog ... and I am excited because that's my sign," Yang said.
For more information about the Chinese zodiac signs or the Chinese calendar, visit the Chinese Culture Center Web site at http://www.c-c-c.org/chinese