The Chinese New Year is the biggest and most important festival in China. 2013 is the Year of the Snake and is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of twelve animal signs. The University of Exeter will be celebrating the Year of the Snake on Saturday 16th February in the city and on the Streatham Campus.
At 1pm the Dragon and Lion dancers will parade through the city, starting in Buffet City, ending in Bedford Square. The parade continues at The Forum, Streatham Campus at 3pm, where there is also a Chinese Market, food, martial arts demonstrations, performances and activities for everyone. As part of the biggest Chinese celebrations in the city there will be a firework display at 6pm which can be viewed from the Forum.
In many cultures, snakes mean fear, but in the Chinese horoscope, the snake is endowed with luck, love, longevity and wealth. The people who are born in the year of the snake are wise, calm and careful. The Snake is also called Junior Dragon by Chinese people.
Ryan Siyi Dong is a second year PhD student in Mathematics and head of the Chinese Society who have organised the activities. He explained the meaning of Chinese New Year: “It is about reunion and the love from family becomes the most important reason to gather as a group. This celebration binds our hearts together with our family members. It reminds us the past year is fallen and the New Year has risen. We will wish for a better life for the coming year.
He added: “Before I left my hometown to study abroad, the best part of the Chinese New Year celebration was the family party. Everyone would have a dinner at home, we’d drink and exchange the gifts or red paper envelopes (which contains money as a gift), then fireworks. Unfortunately, for many Chinese students we can’t go home, so the Chinese Society is a kind of big family of Chinese students. Our society members would like to create an atmosphere like home to let the students know they are not alone. We devote ourselves to passing the love to one another.”
The celebrations are presented by the Chinese Student Scholars Association (CSSA) and supported by University of Exeter, Students Guild and Streetwise Fund.
Sue O’Hara Student Support Events and Campaigns Manager said: ‘We’re very excited to be hosting the annual Chinese New Year celebration at the Forum this year. The University has a good reputation for hosting student-led cultural events and Chinese New Year is always well attended by students, staff and local residents. This will be the perfect venue for our Chinese student community to share their culture with us. I personally can’t wait to see the Dragons and Lions dancing on the Great Hall Piazza.’
A mini-bus will be running from the Cornwall Campus up to Exeter for the Chinese New Year celebrations on Sat 16th February. To book a place on the mini-bus drop into FXU Sport and Recreation with a £5 (returnable) deposit.