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Posted on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:01 p.m.

Chinese New Year celebration Saturday at Washtenaw Community College

By Lisa Carolin

The new year 4710 has begun, according to the Chinese calendar.

On Saturday, from 3-9 p.m., the public is invited to join in the New Year celebration at the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College where there will be colorful dances, traditional instruments, martial arts presentations, fan dancers, dinner from 6-9 p.m. from local Chinese restaurants and much more.

It may not feel like it here in Michigan, but Chinese New Year signifies the beginning of spring. It's celebrated by ethnic Chinese around the world as well as ethnic Taiwanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Tibetans and others. This is the Year of the Dragon.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, outreach coordinator for the Ann Arbor Chinese Center of Michigan, is the master of ceremonies at Saturday's celebration and also leads the lion dance team.

"The Chinese New Year is like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's all rolled into one," she said, adding that it's a time for people to congratulate each other on surviving the old year, to welcome the new year, and to get together with family and friends.

Close to 400 people are expected to attend Saturday's event, including many of the families that attend the Ann Arbor Chinese Center of Michigan's Chinese School as well as people from the Chinese American community and the international adoptive community. The Chinese Center is a nonprofit that welcomes anyone interested in learning about Chinese culture and language.

"By hosting this event, it helps bring everyone together to have a chance to learn more about the interesting customs of the Chinese Lunar New Year," said Sherry Spencer, principal of the Ann Arbor Chinese School. "Most importantly, it is to help people recognize and embrace the beauty of the cultural differences and learn to appreciate the diversity in our town and our country."

Tickets are available at the door and cost $12 for adults, $10 for children 4-14, and children under 4 are free. The Morris Lawrence Building is located at 4800 E. Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor. For more information go to



Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

I wish we were not between paychecks, our daughter loves the fan dance. Sounds like a winner in our book. Next year? Most definitely. Thanks for the heads up.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 3:27 a.m.

I've lived a number of places and observed ethnic holiday celebrations in a number of flavors. (This sounds delightful.) Perhaps my favorite was the Wilhelm Tell celebration in New Glarus, Wisconsiin, with cows being led down the "mountainside" (bells clanking), brats, and polka dancing in the street with a real oompa band. Here's a question: if you were part of a fairly large community of expat Americans, what would be your holiday and how would you celebrate it? What foods? The obvious thing would be fireworks and ice cream for the Fourth, but does that do the same thing as this wonderful cultural evocation? Would it teach the people around you much about our country?