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Chinese New Year begins tonight

Tonight will begin the New Year's celebration for the Chinese students at Troy State University and the community is invited to be a part of this special event.

The celebration will get under way at 6:15 p.m. in the Trojan Center and general admission tickets are $10 and student tickets are $7.

&uot;This is an opportunity for the Chinese students to share a bit of their culture with their fellow students and the community,&uot; said Debbie Davis, international student advisor. &uot;This will be a very enjoyable evening.&uot;

Among the special presentations will be the Lion Dance, the Dragon Dance, music, dancing and an opportunity to sample a wide range of Chinese cuisine.

&uot;The Chinese New Year is the oldest and longest festival in China,&uot; said Ping Ding (Bruce), vice president of the TSU Chinese Association.

The date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar and this year began on Saturday, Feb.1.

&uot;In China, the New Year's celebration lasts for about eight days,&uot; Bruce said. &uot;Everything shuts down. No one works. Everyone works the whole year and it is time to take a break.

Everyone spends time with family and friends.

&uot;On New Year's eve people take a long shower and then put on their new clothes - everything is new, shirts and shoes and even new hair styles.&uot;

During the New Year's celebration the Chinese people enjoy &uot;nice foods and nice fruits.&uot;

&uot;A long time ago, people in China did not have nice food so in the New Year we have nice food and chicken and fish almost every day,&uot; Bruce said.

Presents are also a part of the New Year's celebration.

The older generation often gives the youngsters &uot;hong bau.&uot;

&uot;The hong bau is a present of money and it is wrapped where the children cannot see,&uot; Bruce said. &uot;Chinese New Year is fun for everyone.&uot;

The TSU Chinese Association will provide some of the fun and excitement of the celebration that is under way in their homeland for those who attend tonight's campus celebration.

&uot;We will have the Lion Dance and the Dragon Dance,&uot; Bruce said. &uot;The dances are done to chase away evil and bring good luck. The lion has people for the head and for the tail and it will parade around the ballroom for everyone to see. The dragon we made ourselves. It takes 10 people to make the dragon dance.&uot;

Bruce laughingly said the dragon will also dance around the ballroom and &uot;may even eat all of the food.&uot;

The celebration will include a short program followed by a time of food and fellowship. Following the meal, there will be music and dancing.

&uot;We hope many people will come to celebrate the Chinese New Year with us,&uot; Bruce said.