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Ringing in the year of the goat

A Lunar New Year celebration

 SEB’s party didn’t exactly draw in a large crowd, but that might not be a bad thing. Many students may have already celebrated with their friends and family the night before.

When the clock struck twelve and last Wednesday came to a close, so did the year of the horse, making way for the year of the goat in the Chinese calendar. Within the Chinese zodiac the goat is a strong symbol of honesty, creativity and perseverance.

Similar to the American way of ringing in a new year, the Chinese New Year is typically celebrated with fireworks lighting up the sky. Tradition says that shooting off these fireworks helps ward off evil spirits while also bringing good luck.

In many Chinese communities, friends and family share a feast before taking part in a parade full of ringing gongs, clashing cymbals and intricate lion and dragon dances. Since the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, and because it is common for other cultures to celebrate the holiday, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the Lunar New Year.

In honor of the occasion, the Student Events Board hosted a celebration with egg rolls and the Bruce Lee classic, “Return of the Dragon.” At 8 p.m on Thursday night, the Sports Zone lights were dimmed and the movie began, promptly.

Saying this was low-key compared to the traditional Chinese festival is a bit of an understatement. Event programmer and senior American studies major Brendan Chittick said, “One-off events tend to have lower attendance.” It appeared that very few of the people were there for the celebration. Although some snacked on the small buffet of egg rolls, they didn’t stick around for too long.

James Baker, a sophomore computer science major, did not attend the event, but celebrates the holiday with his family. “Usually it’s a large family gathering with a large meal at one of my grandparents’ houses. We exchange decorative little red envelopes with small amounts of money in them,” Baker said. Presenting money in these red envelopes is said to bless the receiver with happiness and good luck.

“All of the adults in the family usually pass their red envelopes to the children and tell them to say happy new year in Chinese,” said Baker. The red envelopes ritual is a common tradition but, as with most holidays, many families have created their own traditions as well.

If other students who celebrate the Lunar New Year have traditions like Baker, that might explain the low turnout at (seb)’s celebration. Many students may wish to ring in the new year with their loved ones in a special way.

2016 will be the year of the monkey. If (seb) gets the opportunity to host another party, anyone who’s interested in celebrating with a movie and some good food will surely be welcome to come. Even for those who will have already celebrated, there’s always time for an after party.