Cultural and artistic performances will highlight the Chinese New Year “Year of the Rat” and the Spring Festival celebration at Cal State San Bernardino on Friday, Jan. 31, at the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center at 5:30 p.m.
“Chinese New Year” or “the Spring Festival” is the most important traditional Chinese holiday. It is also known as the “Lunar New Year” to English speakers. The celebration will feature performances of Chinese traditional and modern dance and songs, Chinese opera and Chinese musical instruments, along with Chinese folk art. The event is sponsored by the CSUSB Chinese Student Association.

The campus community — students, faculty, staff and administrators — are invited to join in the celebration of the New Year and Chinese culture. Tickets – $6 per person – are available from the ASI Box Office (ext. 75933).

The CSUSB Chinese Student Association was established in the late 1990s. The Chinese Spring Festival Celebration began in the early 2000s and became a campus-wide event in 2009. Since then, the event has always had a full-house audience, attended by the CSUSB students, administrators, faculty, and staff as well as members of the local community and representatives from other universities in Southern California.
In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Those born under the sign of the rat are said to be kind, optimistic, energetic, reliable, sensitive to other’s emotions, and attentive to fine details.
The origin of the Chinese New Year Festival can be traced back thousands of years. The centuries-old legend of the origins of the Chinese New Year celebration varies from teller to teller, but every telling includes a story of a terrible mythical monster preying on villagers. The lion-like monster’s name was Nian, which is also the Chinese word for “year.'
The stories include a wise old man who counsels the villagers to ward off the evil Nian by making loud noises with drums and firecrackers and by hanging red paper cutouts and scrolls on their doors, because Nian is scared of the color red.
The villagers took the old man’s advice and Nian was conquered. On the anniversary of the date, the Chinese recognize the “passing of the Nian,” known in Chinese as guo nian, which is synonymous with celebrating the New Year.
The celebration is also sponsored by the CSUSB Associated Students Inc., the Cross-Cultural Center, the Center for International Studies and the University Diversity Committee.