Panda-mania starts New Year's party early

Updated: 2014-01-21 13:08

By Chen Weihua (China Daily USA)

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On Sunday, the World Artists Experiences, an organization that bridges international understanding through cultural and citizen diplomacy in communities, colleges and schools, will join hands with the Chinese embassy to present a day of celebrations of the Year of the Horse at the Avalon Theatre in Easton, Maryland, just outside Washington, with a variety of events for kids and adults.

From 2 to 4:30 pm on Feb 2 on H Street NW between 6th and 8th Streets, Washington's Chinatown will be the site of a Chinese New Year parade that will include kung fu demonstrations, a dragon dance and live musical performances.

Many restaurants in the US capital also have arranged special menus and events for February to mark the start of the new year.

In Maryland, Chinese New Year celebrations will be held at the Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg from Jan 27 to Feb 9, with performances and workshops in flower arranging, arts and crafts, painting and games.

In Rockville, which has a large Chinese community, celebrations will include a parade, an outdoor Asian street market and musical and dance performances. The participants, sponsors and performers will include not only Chinese, but also Vietnamese, Thai, Filipinos and Koreans who also celebrate the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival.

For Chinese, the Lunar New Year is undoubtedly the most important festival of the year. Celebrations usually last from the first day to the 15th day, also known as the Lantern Festival when the moon is full.

Of course, the Washington area is just one place outside China that will stage Chinese New Year celebrations. When the Chinese New Year was celebrated in 2013, the Chinese central government sent cultural troupes to 251 cities in 99 countries with 355 performances.

Li, from the Chinese embassy, said mutual understanding between Chinese and Americans is vital for building a new type of major country relationship between the two nations.

"Cultural exchanges have a special role and the Spring Festival is a natural platform. People get to know each other before they even realize that," Li said.

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(China Daily USA 01/21/2014 page2)

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