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Club to host Gala for Chinese New Year

| Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Notre Dame Chinese Students & Scholars Association (NDCSSA) will host a celebration in honor of the Chinese New Year tonight from 7-9 p.m., in Washington Hall.

According to its website, the NDCSSA was created in 1991 as a “non-profit and non-political organization of all Chinese students and scholars.” NDCSSA is the largest foreign students and scholars club at Notre Dame with over 400 members.

NDCSSA president Bo Hong said the first Chinese New Year Gala on campus took place in 1992 and moved to its current venue, Washington Hall in 2009.

“The content of the gala is different every year,” Hong said. “Generally, there will be Chinese traditional choreography, traditional instrument performance, history drama, pop song singing, Fashion shows — including modern style and Chinese traditional costumes of different dynasties in Chinese history — playing games with the audience, and so forth.”

This year’s celebration marks the beginning of the Year of the Goat. Hong said the Chinese Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year, is based on the lunar calendar and can be traced back thousands of years.

“Legend has it that the Emperor invented the calendar in 2637 B.C.,” Hong said. “It was recorded that Chinese started to celebrate Chinese New Year from about 2000 B.C. They started to celebrate on the first day of the lunar calendar based on Emperor Wu Di’s almanac of the Han Dynasty.”

Hong said this celebration recognized and responded to a mythical beast called Nian.

“The beast Nian could infiltrate houses silently to prey on humans,” Hong said. “To keep Nian away, red-paper couplets are pasted on doors, torches are lit, and firecrackers are set off throughout the night, because Nian is said to fear the color red, the light of fire, and loud noises.”

Hong said the Koreans and Vietnamese also celebrate their New Years on the same day.

“In Vietnam, the first three days [of the New Year] are public holidays,” Hong said. “A few countries around the world regularly issue postage stamps or numismatic coins to commemorate Chinese New Year.”

These countries — including Australia, Canada, Christmas Island, El Salvador, France, the Phillipines and the U.S. — recognize the significant number of their citizens who are of Chinese origin in their tribute to the Chinese New Year. Hong said this recognition is similar to the NDCSSA’s objective in hosting the gala.

The Chinese New Year Gala is open to all students, whether or not they are part of the NDCSSA, and attendees are welcome to leave early or stay as long as they want. Admission is free.

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About Andrea Vale

Andrea Vale is a freshman at Notre Dame who has previously written for both the Sun Chronicle and the Huffington Post. She plans to major in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Journalism.

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