Chinese New Year: Year of the snake celebrated at MU

Saturday, February 9, 2013 | 9:09 p.m. CST; updated 9:26 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 9, 2013
The Mid-Missouri Chinese Association hosted a party Saturday at Memorial Student Union to celebrate the beginning of the year of the snake.

COLUMBIA — Gathering with family is a hallmark of any holiday, but when family is thousands of miles away, that's not always possible.

“Most Chinese people in Columbia come here,” said Eileen Li, a Columbia resident. “We like to celebrate together.”

Li was one of about 250 people, mostly MU faculty, staff and their families, ringing in theChinese New Year on Saturday evening at a party hosted by the Mid-Missouri Chinese Association in Memorial Union. At midnight Saturday, the year of the dragon will end, giving way to the year of the snake.

"The snake represents intelligence and good fortune," Li said.

"And bad temper," said her son Kellan, who was born during the last year of the snake in 2001.

Li and her children, along with many other guests, wore red, a color associated with good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture.

In a side room, some guests watched a broadcast of China Central Television’s New Year’s Gala. The gala is the most-watched television program in the world, according to NPR.

Food at the event came from local Chinese restaurants, and some guests contributed their own dishes.

The party featured numerous performances, including dances, martial arts demonstrations, a string quartet and a children’s choir.

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.

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