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WVU hosts Chinese New Year celebration at the Mountainlair

Last night, hundreds of people gathered in the ballroom of the Mountainlair, from 6-9 p.m., to celebrate the Chinese New Year. 2020 is the Year of the Rat, and it is the first Chinese zodiac sign, serving as the beginning of a cycle.

The celebration emulated an authentic and traditional Chinese New Year, with dancing, singing and people speaking in their native language.

Another part of their tradition is handing out red envelopes, known as hóng bāo, which contain money; money to “anchor the year.” The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and wards off evil spirits.

“Lunar New Year is the most important ancient Chinese holiday. It is a time to celebrate, to renew and to share and give back. Sharing this red packet of appreciation is part of the Chinese festival tradition.”

Morgantown mayor Bill Kawecki made opening remarks prior to the evening’s performances and wished everyone a Happy New Year. Kawecki also spoke of the culture that Morgantown has to offer.

“Your culture, your participation … you enlarge the quality of life in Morgantown,” Kawecki said.

With dance being a major part of Chinese culture, several traditional dances took place, one being “Bamboo Warbook,” performed by WVU students. The dance is one of the many important symbols in. Chinese culture and the dancers held what was to mimic the title of the performance.

The celebration took over two months to plan, according to Dong Gao, vice president of the West Virginia Chinese Association (WVCA), as well as have enough time to invite all of their guests. The association is a community-based nonprofit and serves Chinese scholars, researchers and other professionals in the state of West Virginia.

The next celebration of Chinese culture hosted by WVCA and the WVU Chinese Student & Scholar Association (CSSA) will be a Chinese Spring Festival in the months to come.