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【Gainesville SUN】Chinese families, friends gather to welcome New Year

发布者:华根网站管理员,发布时间:2015年2月20日 下午8:11   [ 更新时间:2015年2月20日 下午8:18 ]

University of Florida students celebrate the coming new year with a traditional dumpling meal.
While most folks in the Gainesville area celebrated New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, for Chinese people, the big day is Thursday.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the biggest event in China, having seen more than 4,000 years of celebration based on the Chinese calendar. Each year is associated with one of 12 animal signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This is the year of the sheep.

Chinese people usually get together with family and friends and share special foods based on the regions of China from which their family hails.

Yifan Wen, a second-year International Communication graduate student at UF, said cooking and eating dumplings is an important tradition in Northern China.

“Spring Festival offers Chinese people an opportunity to get together and feel the atmosphere of home,’’ Wen said.

Back in China, millions of people will watch the Spring Festival Gala Evening on China Central Television.

In Gainesville, hundreds are expected to attend the Spring Festival Gala Evening on Saturday at the Phillips Center For The Performing Arts. The Chinese Student Association hopes to fill all 1,600 seats in the center.

Lu Luo, president of CSA, said that group has been working on the gala since November.

“The mission of the CSA is to serve students,’’ Luo said. “All of our staff are volunteers, and we really want to help students feel the atmosphere of the New Year.’’

Around 40 students from Gainesville’s Hua-gen Chinese school will stage four performances at the event. The non-profit primary school, founded in 1997, has more than 140 students and teaches children the Chinese language of Mandarin.

The Hua-gen school performed its own New Year Gala last Saturday before more than 300 audience members at the Edith D. Cofrin Theater at Oak Hall School.

Lan Luo, principal of the Hua-gen school, said the school functions as a cultural ambassador to expose Chinese culture to the next generations.

“This New Year Gala will show the kids what Chinese New Year is, what we are celebrating and why,’’ Luo said. “We want to help the kids truly know about Chinese culture and to realize that they are Chinese. ”

The Chinese students at UF recently got a special New Year’s message from UF president Kent Fuchs. In a video, he said he is very proud of the 7,000 international students on campus -- most of whom are Chinese -- who add so much to the education and research at the university.

Fuchs also said, “Xin Nian Kuai Le, Yang Nian Ji Xiang” at the end of the video, which means “Happy New Year and I wish you an auspicious year of sheep.” The video can be watched on YouTube.