CLU hosts Chinese New Year celebration

California Lutheran University will host a free Chinese New Year celebration from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, in Lundring Events Center.

The festive event will feature a traditional Lion Dance, Chinese acrobats and tai chi demonstrations. There will be singing, dancing and traditional Chinese music such as Er-Hu and Pi-Pa. Artists will demonstrate origami and Chinese writing and painting, and an acupuncturist will be available. Traditional Chinese food will be served.

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In 2010, the Year of the Tiger, the first day of the first month is Feb. 14. This is year 4708 in the Chinese calendar. The holiday traditionally lasts 15 days and focuses on bringing good luck for the new year.

According to legend, Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian. To protect themselves, villagers originally put out food to satisfy the Nian. Later, determining the beast feared the color red, they hung red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. Today, adults give red envelopes, often containing money, to children to symbolize wealth and prosperity in the coming year. Lanterns symbolize the brightness of spring. In dragon and lion dances, a group of dancers parade under an elaborately decorated dragon or lion costume to scare away bad luck.

CLU’s Chinese New Year celebration has grown steadily since its inception a few years ago. Last year’s event drew about 250 participants.

Lundring Events Center is in the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center, which is near the corner of Olsen Road and Campus Drive. For more information, call the Multicultural and International Programs office at (805) 493-3302.