Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Chinese Spring Festival to celebrate Year of the Horse

The Association of Chinese Students and Scholars will ring in the Year of the Horse with singing, dancing, food, games and a kung-fu demonstration at the annual Chinese Spring Festival Ceremony.

The festival will commemorate the Chinese New Year Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Ferguson Center Ballroom. All University of Alabama students and Tuscaloosa community members are invited to attend.

“In Chinese culture, there are 12 different animals that represent each year on a rotating basis,” Liu Liu, ACSS vice president, said. “2014 is symbolized by a horse, which indicates a fast-paced and active year. In China, the New Year is celebrated [in conjunction] with the start of spring.”

Bing Li, ACSS president, said participants can meet international students and find an interest in Chinese culture. Attendees are advised to wear red or bright colors to symbolize good luck in the New Year.

“The red color in China means good fortune,” Liu said. “In China, we believe there are monsters that are scared of the color red. Demons won’t get close to you out of fear of the red color.”

It is also customary to wear new clothes when celebrating the Spring Festival, Li said.

Participants can take part in games that will introduce Chinese culture in an easy and understandable way, Liu said. One game will incorporate dumplings, a lucky New Year’s food in China, equivalent to the South’s black-eyed peas, collard greens and ham.

“Dumplings are a symbolic food for the Spring Festival in the northern part of China, so we will prepare some doughs and let the students practice making dumplings,” Liu said. “We will time them [for] five minutes. Whoever makes more dumplings will win a prize.”

The ceremony will also have traditional Chinese decorations, including a 20-foot dragon.

About 400 to 500 people have attended the event in recent years, Liu said. Usually half of those in attendance are not Chinese, Luoheng Han, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said. The Spring Festival is customarily spent with family, but that is not an option for many Chinese students who are far from home.

“The University of Alabama is the second home for many, if not all, Chinese students who are over 7,000 miles away from their home country,” Han said.

These students will celebrate together like a big family, so the atmosphere will be very welcoming, Li said.

“I think it is wonderful to have a group of students offering such a large event celebrating their culture to the UA community,” Andrew Word, International Student Organization liaison officer, said. “It shows that we have students from outside of the country that are comfortable enough here to step up and hold such events for the community, which I believe speaks volumes on the way the community treats its international students in providing an environment in which they can not only learn about campus life here, but offer something of their own life and culture back to a receptive student body.”

Tickets will be sold from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday on the 2nd floor of the Ferguson Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12.

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