Feb. 9, 2012
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU celebrates Chinese New Year
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s Saturday celebration of Chinese New offers a colorful opportunity to expand your cultural awareness, learn about the “Year of the Dragon,” play games and sample Chinese food. The free program, which includes calligraphy demonstrations and chopstick tricks, begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Slippery Rock Township Community Center, 155 Branchton Road.
Those planning to attend the program said it presents an opportunity to learn more about the importance of China as a cultural and economic force.
“The most obvious reason to learn about China is that it is an emerging power and in the coming years, Americans will have more extensive dealing with the Chinese as well as to learn to accept China’s place in the world,” said Tom Daddesio, SRU associate professor of modern languages and cultures. “China also has a long tradition of wisdom that we can benefit from. In a period of soaring health costs, we can learn from time-tested, well-being practices such as t’ai chi, meditation and Chinese traditional medicine.”
Andrew Colvin, SRU assistant professor of philosophy who teaches Asian philosophy and religious thought, said the program offers educational enrichment.
“The Chinese New Year celebration is a great opportunity to educate our students, faculty and community about China and Chinese culture – and given China’s rich cultural heritage and its emergence as a global power, it’s important that universities make these opportunities available,” he said.
The “Year of the Dragon” is considered the luckiest of Chinese new years because the “Dragon” restarts the traditional 12-year cycle.
Li Pu, assistant professor of communication, planned the program. “China becomes increasingly politically and economically important to the U.S. President Obama promotes exchange program between American and Chinese college students. Maybe some SRU students will work and live in China when they graduate. So it is important to introduce Chinese culture to SRU campus.”
The Steel Lion Dance Team will perform a dragon-themed lion dance. The loud drum and cymbal sounds along with the aggressive dancing of the lion are believed by many to evict bad or evil spirits, giving rise to a good new year.
“This dance is always part of a traditional New Year’s celebration,” Pu said.
A local Chinese restaurant will provide lunch.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the “Lunar New Year” or “Spring Festival” is considered one of the most important Chinese holidays. While the year is 2012, the Chinese calendar marks it as the year 4710. The actual celebration runs 15 days, starting with a family reunion dinner and ending with a “Lantern Festival.”
According to legend, Buddha summoned all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each. He said people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave and passionate. Salvador Dali and John Lennon were among those born in the Year of the Dragon, according to online sources.
The celebration is observed throughout much of Asia as an official holiday. It often includes buying presents, decorating, food and special clothing.
Millions of Chinese people returned to their homes to celebrate the New Year with family and friends. Around the world, the event is also marked with celebrations, including special foods and fireworks. In New York City’s Chinatown district, more than 600,000 rounds of firecrackers were set off.
The Chinese Culture Association and the University’s Modern China Center organized the program. The College of Health, Environment and Science and the Asian Studies Program are sponsors..
The actual holiday was celebrated Jan. 23 through Feb. 6, but is being marked locally in conjunction with the return of SRU students for spring classes.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.