Campus News

Ushering in the Year of the Snake

chinese new year.


Published January 21, 2013


The UB Confucius Institute (UBCI) and the Chinese Club of Western New York (CCWNY), in partnership with Buffalo’s Gold Summit Organization for the Development of Eastern Culture, will present their colorful, musical and much-anticipated annual Chinese New Year celebration on Feb. 10.

The celebration, which will let loose the 2013 Year of the Snake, will take place from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Mainstage theater in Center for the Arts, North Campus. It is free and open to the public.

The performers and teachers have been preparing for months to treat the audience to lively music, colorful dance and other performances by members of CCWNY and UBCI students. In addition, Gold Summit students, led by the organization’s master teacher, Laoshi Erin Markle, will offer an artistic and athletic demonstration of authentic Chinese martial arts.

“Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and is the most-anticipated celebration of the year in China,” says Eric Yang, executive director of the Confucius Institute.

“This is the third time we have staged the event in collaboration with CCWNY and we are very pleased that now it is highly anticipated and popular in Western New York.”

Voluntary donations will cover the cost of purchase of dancers’ costumes for this performance and help subsidize future events.

“This year we will begin the Year of Snake, the snake being an omen of fortune and beauty,” says CCWNY President Ken Hu. “In an unusual stroke of luck, our celebration will be held on Chinese New Year’s Day, so perhaps the snake is already at work on a year of good luck.”

It also should be a good year for those born in other years of the snake, which include 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013.

Yang describes the Chinese New Year as a worldwide event celebrated in the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, as well as other Asian countries with significant Chinese populations, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, and among Chinese diaspora populations elsewhere. The holiday also has influenced the New Year celebrations of China’s geographic neighbors.

Traditionally, the Chinese spend considerable sums of money on presents, decorations, food and clothing, and every family thoroughly cleans its house to sweep away any ill fortune and make way for good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red paper cutouts and poetic couplets featuring popular themes of happiness, wealth and longevity.

On New Year’s Eve, families share a feast and end the night with fireworks. Early the next morning, children greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy New Year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese believe that the New Year is an important time to reconcile differences, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

The UB Confucius Institute is part of a network of 400 such institutes around the world that promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture. The institute is a collaborative program involving UB’s Asian Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences; Capital Normal University, a longstanding UB educational partner in Beijing; and Hanban, the executive body of the Chinese Language Council International, a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education.