The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival when translated to modern Chinese, marks the turn of the traditional Chinese calendar.
February 16th officially marked the Chinese New Year, but on the 18th, residents from all over headed to the Meridian Mall for the 6th annual Chinese New Year festival.
This year is the Year of the Dog, which is the 11th of all zodiac animals. According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of the Dog are considered to be honest, loyal and the most reliable. People born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are considered “Dogs” in the Chinese zodiac.
The event ran from 1 – 4:30 p.m. and admission is free.
So what can you expect from the event?
“The parade is only a small part of the Chinese New Year Gala and it usually takes place at the beginning of the performances,” said Ying Beher, vice president of the Greater Lansing Chinese Association. “The performers participating in the lion dance, dragon dance, Chinese dress fashion show, and children dance are usually the ones in the parade. They will be dressed up in the costumes and dance around each wing of the mall, and later they will perform individually.”
The parade isn’t the only main event taking place during the festival. There will be different game booths for young children, and over 20 different performances happening throughout the entire mall, including classical dances and Tai Chi. There will also be a raffle going on; and the grand prize is a 50-inch flat-screen TV.
“A few years ago, a group of local Chinese residents decided to fund the Greater Lansing Chinese Association since there were growing Chinese population in the area,” said Beher. “They sensed the need to preserve the culture, contribute to the local economy, and take responsibility to promote diversity. A fun event like the Chinese New Year Gala is the perfect event to combine the three elements.”
The Meridian Mall has been the destination of the event for the last five years. It’s only a couple miles away from Michigan State’s campus, so it’s relatively easy for students and faculty to come check out the festival. Some people that have never been are quite excited for the event.
“I have never been and actually never heard of it before,” said Holly Mulligan, a resident of Meridian Township. “What I’m most looking forward to is just seeing the atmosphere of the cultural event and learning more about the year of the dog because I was also born in a ‘Dog’ year.”
Others made their return to the festival for another year.
“My husband, son and I did go to the parade last year but did not know what it was,” said Sarah Maynard of Meridian Township. “My son is learning about every different kind of holiday imaginable in kindergarten and with that, he developed an obsession with calendars. Now, we’re celebrating every random holiday, including Chinese New Year, because he wouldn’t have it any other way.”