Lunar New Year important tradition in many cultures
By Rene Balbuena - Staff Reporter
Lunar New Year is an an- nual event that brings people together all over the world, a visiting Chinese professor said here this week.
Yuexi Wang is visiting Highline this year to teach Chinese language and culture classes. She is from Shanghai, where she teaches at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Professor Wang said that in China, Lunar New Year's Eve is very important because families get together and stay up late in the night to ward off the monster Dian and other unwanted ghosts.
"For young students, I don't think they get the chance" to learn about the traditions of the holiday and what they mean, Wang said. She en- couraged students and all peo-
ple to learn more about other cultures and their traditions.
It is also important for peo- ple of Asian ethnicity to share their stories and give people an opportunity to acknowledge a different culture, Wang said..
Lunar New Year is tied to the lunar calendar. Twelve cy- cles of the moon make a lunar year, which is shorter than the Western calendar of 365 days. As a result Lunar New Year moves in relation to the reg- ular calendar, this year falling on Feb. 5.
The Chinese lunar cycle ties in with the Chinese Zodi- ac. This will be the Year of the Pig. The pig, the last of the 12 signs, symbolizes wealth and good fortune.
In China, the lunar calen- dar is said to have started with the Shan Dynasty several thou- sand years ago.
Other events included in lunar new year's 15-day span are the Lion Dance. This is a symbol of power, wisdom, and good fortune. This event chases away evil spirits and brings happiness and longev- ity.
Lunar new year happens in other East Asian countries that have had connections or been inf luenced by Chinese culture. Currently one-sixth of the world's population cel- ebrates lunar new year, mak- ing this a major event.
Other communal events:
The Seattle Chinese Cul- tural and Arts Association will be hosting a new year cel- ebration on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bel- levue Square.
The Wing Luke Museum and Seattle's Chinatown-In- ternational District will hold their annual lunar new year Celebration and Fair on Sat- urday, Feb. 2, 10 a.m. 719 S. King St., Seattle. For tickets, visit wingluke.org.