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Calendar >  Army And Navy Academy Celebrates Lunar New Year With The Community

Army And Navy Academy Celebrates Lunar New Year With The Community

By   /  March 1, 2024  /  No Comments

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TR Robertson -Carlsbad’s Army and Navy Academy cadets, family members and visitors celebrated the Lunar New Year the final Sunday in February with a series of presentations organized by Anne Wang, the Ambassador to the Academy’s Chinese community for the Army and Navy Academy Patrons Association. Anne Wang organized the event, invited the talent and funded the event with the support of the Army and Navy Academy Chinese family community. The afternoon event, held in historic Davis Hall Gym, featured a series of performances from professional groups and individuals and presentations from Army and Navy cadets to welcome in the Lunar New Year of the Dragon and to inform those in attendance about the Lunar New Year celebrations held in a number of cultures.

The Chinese New Year, also referred to as the Spring Festival, begins each year on the new moon between January 21st and February 20th. Each of the years is associated with one of the eleven animal symbols from the Chinese Zodiac, this year the Year of the Dragon. Traditionally families gather and participate in fifteen days of celebration. The first event usually involves families gathering for an annual reunion dinner and the exchanging of red envelopes or packets, given by married couples or elderly to unmarried couples or children. Other events include cleaning of houses to sweep away ill fortune, decorating windows and doors with red paper cuts with themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity. Fireworks are also featured on some of the days. Throughout the days various dinners are held, dumplings a featured dish as well as spring rolls and a variety of meats, as well as numerous celebrations. The fifteenth day usually involves the Lantern Festival and a parade of red lanterns.

One story of the mythology surrounding the Lunar New Year celebration deals with the mythical beast Nian who would enter villages and eat children. The story says an old man stayed in the village one day, hung red paper on the doors of homes, wore red and set off fireworks. The beast did not show up and ever since villagers would wear red, put-up red lanterns, set off fireworks to celebrate and drive the beast away. The lion dance is used today to also drive the beast away.

Several Army and Navy cadets served as MC’s as they welcomed those in attendance and introduced Army and Navay Academy President Major General Peggy Combs. Major General Combs also welcomed those in attendance and discussed the importance of learning more about cultures of the world and sharing the experiences of seeing some of these events in person. Some of the performances for the day included members of the Shadin Kungfu group from Orange County. The beginning of the celebration was a performance of the traditional Dragon dance, followed by a series of presentations from members of the Kungfu group including dances like the fan dance. Following this was a Mongolian solo improvisation dance performed by professional dance instructor Rongna Su, graduate of the Minzu University of China.

A group of Army and Navy cadets gave a presentation about the Lunar New Year celebrations in China, Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia, discussing the traditional foods and events held. After this, several former members of the Peking Opera, dressed in elaborate and traditional costumes, sang several songs. After this performance, several more members of the Army and Navy cadets recited, in Chinese, a number of Chinese poems. The cadets and members of the audience were then invited to take part in a popular You Tube dance that is sweeping the internet, the Kemusan or Subject Three. One mother of one of the cadets then entertained the crowd with a song. A presentation by the trickster, the Monkey King, brought an end to the performances. The final event for the celebration was a question-and-answer contest with prizes handed out to the winners.

This festive, colorful and entertaining event drew to a close and we are now fully into the Year of the Dragon. This year symbolizes power, good fortune and strength and is associated with traits like intelligence, ambition and charisma. May your year be filled with these characteristics and a thank you to the Army and Navy Academy for providing this festive event.

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