CAPEC Sponsors Lunar New Year Celebration

Posted: February 14, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

The George Mason community will celebrate the Lunar New Year tomorrow from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center Bistro. It is the year 4701 of the Chinese Lunar Calendar–the year of the Ram. The highlight of the event will be a traditional lion dance. There will also be music, food, and entertainment.

The lion dance originated in ancient times when, according to legend, a monster descended from the mountains on the first day of the lunar year to destroy villages and crops. The villagers, to protect themselves, made a creature modeled on the Chinese lion that represents strength, wisdom, good luck, and the ability to drive away evil spirits. They confronted the monster with the lion and frightened it so it never troubled the villagers again. The lion is still used on the Lunar New Year and at the start of any major undertaking to bring good luck and prosperity.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar reportedly dates back to 2637 B.C., when the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed Earth. But only 12 animals came, so Buddha honored each of them with a year: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. Supposedly, a person takes on the characteristics of the animal belonging to the year they were born. To check your lunar year horoscope, click here.

The event is organized by the Center for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (CAPEC), the Office of Diversity Programs and Services, and the Asian-Pacific American Faculty and Staff Association. To join the Lunar New Year celebration RSVP to Cheryl Choy at (703) 993-2151.

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