The IU Asian Culture Center and the Monroe County Public Library will celebrate the Lunar New Year at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 12 on Zoom. Community members ages three and older can register at the library’s website with a non-school email address.
The event has been an annual tradition between the library and the Asian Culture Center for at least 15 years, said Sarah Stamey, program associate at the ACC. It has been carried on by librarians and members of the ACC.
“This celebration with the MCPL is something I look forward to each year,” Stamey said. “Most of our events are geared toward the IU community –– college-aged kids, faculty, staff, community members, etc –– so this event is fun since it specifically engages families and children.”
In Chinese culture, the Lunar New Year is observed on the night of the first new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20.
The event will include an explanation of the history of the Lunar New Year, a demonstration on how to make a Chinese lantern and recorded performances of traditional songs and folk dances from the TianTian Chinese School according to Lisa Champelli, children’s strategist at the library. Champelli will be reading one interpretation of the legend of the Chinese zodiac.
“We say that the public library belongs to everybody, and celebrating the different customs and traditions of people in the community is just one way that we can help bring people together and help people learn about each other,” Champelli said. “I really appreciate the chance to do special events like this.”
The library has also provided a recipe and demonstration video for Chinese dumplings. Community members can pick up a “Take and Make” kit from the main library, the Ellettsville branch or the Bookmobile. The kit contains children’s activities and more information about the Lunar New Year.
“Take and make kits has been one of the ways that we’ve tried to connect with our community when we have not been able to have people come into the library and enjoy programs and things that we normally invite people to do,” Champelli said. “We’ve tried to provide information about different things as well as the supplies for different crafts.”
The year 2021 will be the Year of the Ox. In China, the spring festival is a celebration of the Lunar New Year held over a period of 15 days starting on the eve of the new year.
Husheng Guo, vice president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, said he is sad to be celebrating the holiday away from his family in China, similar to the feeling of an American student abroad would feel missing Thanksgiving or Christmas. He is happy to have accommunity of Chinese students and community members to practice the holiday’s traditions.
“The main spirit of the holiday is it’s a day to gather,” Guo said. “For the students still at IU that can not go back home during the pandemic, I just want them to know, the states are still available to spend the Spring festival with the Chinese students and American students who want to celebrate with us.”