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chinese new year celebration banner university of alabama A banner with Chinese characters welcomes Universtity of Alabama students to UA's Chinese New Year celebration. (Photo courtesy Isabel Retsinas)

Chinese New Year, Southern Style

University of Alabama rings in the Year of the Snake

By Isabel Retsinas | February 14 , 2013

Alabama may be a long way from China. But our two cultures came together on the University of Alabama campus Sunday night.

More than 450 people gathered to ring in the Year of the Snake. They celebrated Chinese New Year with singing, dancing, and other entertainment that lasted throughout the evening The ballroom was decorated with balloons and Chinese banners. Red was everywhere.

Runqiu "Candice" Ji said Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival in China) is important to her because it's the most traditional of the Chinese holidays. Her favorite thing about the holiday is getting to do nothing and getting to go home to visit her family.

"It's just as big as Christmas is here," she said.

This year, Runqiu was in Alabama for the celebration. But she thinks celebrating in China is more traditional than doing it in America.

"The difference between America and China is that it is more crowded celebrating here and we have more traditional food in China," Jay Yeh, a UA student from Taiwan said.

Yeh added that his favorite part of Chinese New Year is receiving a red envelope, which is a Chinese tradition and has money in it.

The University's celebration had a lot of different acts, including a cello solo, street performers, piano players, and skits. Rows and rows of tables of food were available to people who had purchased tickets to the sold-out event.

Lauren Scoggan was one of the organizers of the event. She said it took her a year and a half to plan the event.

"I love Chinese New Year because it gives me a chance to learn about different cultures and backgrounds," said Scoggan, who is American.

People in Tuscaloosa are used to seeing red everywhere for the Alabama Crimson Tide. But on this night, the red people saw celebrated an entirely different culture.

Kid Reporter Grace Ybarra shares how her school celebrated Chinese New Year on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog. Check out her post, and tell us how you celebrate Chinese New Year!

CHINESE NEW YEAR

How does the rest of the country celebrate Chinese New Year? Find out in the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps's Chinese New Year Special Report!

NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS

Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.

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