Gongxi Facai, or Happy Chinese New Year. The year 2012 is the year of the dragon according to the Chinese zodiac and is known to be the luckiest of all the years. The Roanoke Chinese Association organized the celebration held at the Fiji Island restaurant on January 28th.
The Chinese New Year this year was on January 23 and is based on the lunar calendar, instead of the Gregorian calendar, indicating the beginning of spring. The celebration lasts for 15 days and then the Lantern Festival is held. Older members give the children money in envelopes that they can save or spend any way they like. The children in turn bow to the elderly to wish them longevity.
In the days preceding the celebration, the Chinese enact ancient traditions, such as getting a haircut and buying new clothes and shoes in preparation for the New Year. There is also alot of cleaning, the belief is that in doing these things one is cleansing out the disease and bad luck from the previous year and making room for the good luck of the New Year.
The celebration will end on February 4th at the Taubman Museum with groups from Roanoke College and Virginia Tech presenting various Chinese musical programs. The program begins at 12 noon.
Text and photo by Jim Bullington.