University News

Celebrating Chinese New Year in Utah

Published: February 15, 2018 | Author: Parker Rawlins | Category: Academics

year of the dog 2018 campus confucius instituteSignifying the renewal of life, Chinese New Year is a festivity that lasts 15 days and starts this Friday on February 16.  Based on the lunar calendar, the New Year starts on the first new moon of the year and ends on the full moon. The holiday is a time for renewal, letting go of the old year and transitioning into the new. It is also a time to return home to one’s family, reuniting and celebrating together.

With more than 300 international students representing various Asian countries, Southern Utah University is celebrating the holiday this year with help from the International Affairs department and the Confucius Institute.

Earlier this week the two groups held a Chinese New Year celebration, which included acrobatics, martial arts demonstrations, and magic performances. The event was a huge success, with approximately 1,500 students from all backgrounds attending.

This Thursday, February 15th, there will be another New Year event featuring a fashion show held in the Sharwan Smith Ballroom at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Clara Dong Ye, deputy director of the Confucius Institute, says that she hopes events like these will help to create a community on campus of support and familiarity for international and domestic students alike.

Traditionally, each day of the New Year celebration brings its own activities and customs. For example, beginning at midnight on the first day, it is tradition to light fireworks and firecrackers in order to chase away evil spirits, ensuring a good start to the new year. The color red is also extremely significant to holiday festivities, inviting good luck and blessings into the home.

chinese new year graphicThe holiday operates on a cycle of 12 years, matching the Chinese Zodiac. Each year is assigned a zodiac animal in sequential order- rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This year is the Year of the Dog. Each zodiac is believed to bring its own personality traits to those born within its calendar year. Those born in a Dog year are said to be courageous, faithful, and clever.

Despite the name, Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year as it is known in other countries) is recognized as a public holiday by nearly a dozen Asian countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and, of course, China. All in all, approximately 1.4 billion people celebrate the holiday worldwide.


Contact Information:

Nikki Koontz, assistant director of marketing
435-586-5487
nikkikoontz@suu.edu