2012-01-18 / Lifestyles

Year of the Dragon celebration, dinner planned for Jan. 28

by KATE MOCKLER Reporter

The New Year celebration is the most important time of year in Chinese culture, the time of year when families gather and work is set aside to celebrate.

The University at Buffalo’s Confucius Institute and the Chinese Club of Western New York will partner to provide an opportunity for the Chinese-American community to gather and celebrate, and also for non-Chinese to learn about the holiday. An afternoon of performance will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, in the Mainstage Theater at the UB Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are free of charge.

Following the performance, a traditional Chinese New Year banquet with entertainment will take place from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Am, 4660 Sheridan Drive. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students. They are available from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Chinese Language School at Williamsville North, 1595 Hopkins Road.

“The Chinese New Year celebration attracts most of the ethnic Chinese in the area,” said CCWNY president Ken Hu. “You see people from everywhere.”

The club has been offering the celebration and dinner for more than a decade but will be partnering with the Confucius Institute for the second consecutive year. Last year, 1,500 people attended the afternoon performances, which featured performers ages 4 to 70.

This year, the afternoon performance will open with the dance of the dragon.

“The dragon dance is very popular in China,” said Hu, explaining that it was once reserved for royalty but is now frequently featured at festivals. “Dragons are a symbol of power. It’s a symbol of happiness and fortune.”

Also featured at the celebration will be a martial arts demonstration by students from the Gold Summit Organization for the Development of Eastern Culture. The rest of the program contains a diversity of performances, from dance to singing to kung fu, and is presented primarily by members of the Chinese Club of WNY.

“It’s a great cultural exchange,” said Hu.

“That’s why we organize this celebration, for people to appreciate [the culture],” said Eric Yang, director of the Confucius Institute at UB.

The mission of the Confucius Institute is to promote Chinese language and culture worldwide. The UB Confucius Institute is one of 300 such institutes around the world. For more information on the Institute or the Chinese New Year celebration, contact Yang at 645-7919 or wenzhong@buffalo.edu.

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