Chinese SMC students welcome the Year Of The Ram
According to Chinese legend, once up on a time there was a terrible lion-like monster named Nian. Every winter Nian would head down the mountains and attack the villages causing terror among the people. A wise man told the villagers that the monster was afraid of three things: fire, noise and the color red. He told them to hang red signs on every door and make loud noises with drums, music, and fireworks. The villagers followed the old man's advice and Nian never returned again. This is, according to the tale, was the beginning of the Chinese Lunar Year. Last Thursday, February 19, mark the day as the biggest and most important traditional Chinese holiday, the New Year. The holiday is not only huge in China, it was also celebrated all over Los Angeles with parades, music, dance and Chinese food.
Jack Cai, Santa Monica College student from Hong Kong, did not celebrate the new year this year. "Usually I celebrate it with my family in China and we watch this 4 hour long Chinese New Year festival on TV," Cai said. "They show singing performances and some funny comedy."
According to Cai the traditional Chinese New Year is celebrated with family and relatives. Since people don't have to work during the holiday people can travel and get together and to dumplings which, according to Cai, is the signature meal for this particular holiday.
Danny Wu, another Santa Monica College student from China, agrees that the food, and specially dumplings, is an important part of the Chinese New Year. This year he spent it with his relatives here in Los Angeles. "I heard that they had a parade in China Town here in L.A. but I didn't go there," he said. " In China people prefer to stay home with the family. Just like on Christmas."
Some things SMC student, Kun Zhang, remembers from the traditional Chinese celebrations are fireworks, family dinner and the old myth about Nian. "Old people used to tell that story to all the kids," Zhang said, but as they grow up they realize that it's only a myth.