Chinese ready to ring in new year

By Zuo Yang: PNT Staff Writer

The Chinese Lunar New Year Banquet will consist of dinner, dancing, and entertainment for the Portales community and Eastern New Mexico University students and staff. The banquet is Friday in the Campus Union Building Ballroom.

Eastern New Mexico University has more than 60 Chinese students who can’t be with their families to celebrate this big day.

The Chinese lunar new year, called “Spring Festival” in China, is an important festival for all Chinese, much the same as Christmas is for westerners. On Spring Festival eve, family members gather for a festive dinner. Then at midnight, they shoot off fireworks.

Jian Zheng, president of the International Student Club, said Chinese students at Eastern are putting a lot of effort into offering wonderful entertainment.

“The banquet is a combination of classic and modern Chinese culture,” Zheng said. “It will demonstrate the long history and rich culture of China, and show you a new and energetic look of today’s Chinese youth.”

In the past, the Chinese used the lunar calendar which included the New Year as a way of numbering years. Animals follow one another in an established order and are repeated every twelve years.

The cycle of 12 animal signs originated from Chinese tradition as a way of naming the years, according to TheYearoftheTiger.net Web site.

The year of Tiger starts Feb. 14 and ends on Feb. 2, 2011.

At this year’s event there will be singing, dancing, and a play. In celebration of the year of the Tiger, people who dress up like a tiger are eligible to win a prize.

Tickets are $15 per person.

This is the third year for the banquet.

“We are confident that this year’s Chinese New Year Banquet will be unforgettable for everyone.” Zheng said.

Vivian Shu, a music student at Eastern, is the choreographer of Friday’s show. She said they are preparing three different styles of dancing that people might enjoy.

“I will be dancing to a song from Tibet, which will be sung by a mother of Chinese student,” Shu said.