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Thousands of people are celebrating Chinese New Year in communities across the United States, such as in New York City (above). (Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)

Welcoming the Year of the Snake

Scholastic News Kid Reporters cover Chinese New Year celebrations from around the country

By Isabel Retsinas and Amiri Tulloch | February 15 , 2013
<p>Celebrations feature performances by musicians, dancers, and other artists. (Lintao Zhang / Getty Images)</p>

Celebrations feature performances by musicians, dancers, and other artists. (Lintao Zhang / Getty Images)

Chinese people around the world are celebrating a big holiday—Chinese New Year. It lasts for 15 days. This year, the festival began on February 10.

The Chinese year is based on a lunar calendar. The calendar follows the phases of the moon. Each lunar year is represented by one of 12 animals. The animal symbolizes unique personality traits for people born in that year. 2013 is the Year of the Snake.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, approximately 4 million people of Chinese descent, or ancestry, live in America. Chinese-Americans held parades and parties celebrating the New Year in cities and communities across the United States. The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps was on the scene to report on the festivities.

CHINESE NEW YEAR, SOUTHERN STYLE

From Kid Reporter Isabel Retsinas in Alabama:

Alabama may be a long way from China. But on Sunday night, more than 450 people gathered to ring in the Year of the Snake on the University of Alabama campus.

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.

Jay Yeh is a University of Alabama student from Taiwan. “The difference between America and China is that it is more crowded celebrating here, and we have more-traditional food in China,” he told Scholastic News. Jay added that his favorite Chinese New Year tradition is receiving a red envelope with money in it.

A NEW YEAR IN NEW JERSEY

From Kid Reporter Amiri Tulloch in New Jersey:

On Monday, Linden High School in Linden, New Jersey, hosted its seventh annual Chinese New Year celebration—China Night. The school’s big event featured the award-winning Linden High School Dance Company, the Renaissance Chinese Opera Society of New York City, and other cultural and language performances by students.

Thirteen Chinese exchange students from Xiamen were also part of the celebration. During the final performance, the Xiamen students joined Linden students to sing “Beijing Welcomes You” together in Mandarin Chinese.

Chinese is one of the languages the Linden schools are required to teach. So the Xiamen exchange program complements Linden High School perfectly.

“The Linden kids love the interaction,” Linden Mayor Richard Gerbounka said about the exchange program. “And it’s nothing but positive for both countries.”

Click here for even more coverage of Chinese New Year festivities from the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.

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