Late new year? No, it's early

January 18, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Chinese New Year will be celebrated a little early, with dinner of Chinese food and a performance of the Chinese lion dance at Shepherd University.

The Chinese New Year isn't until Feb. 18, but a public celebration will be held Tuesday, Jan. 23, at the university.

Shepherd hosts the event in January because February is designated for Black History Month events, said Christina Johnson, director of the university's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Disability Support Services, one of the event's sponsors.

After dinner, students from Tai Yim's Kung Fu School, based in Kensington, Md., will perform the lion dance and then lead a martial arts demonstration, said Tai Yim, the Kung Fu school's executive director.


The lion dance, Yim said, stems from a Chinese legend of a beast that attacked a Chinese village centuries ago on New Year's Day. The villagers were told that to protect themselves, they had to drug the beast with an herb-laced vegetable.

When the beast returned, villagers drugged and trapped the beast, then scared it away. But the beast returned the next day. Instead of attacking the village, the beast protected it. As time went on, the village grew and the beast left. The villagers began the lion dance in memory of the beast's transformation from evil to good.

Yim said six dancers will form the lion, which has a 3-foot-wide head made of papier-mch operated by one person, a silk body operated by three people, and a 9-foot tail operated by two people.

For more information about the lion dance, visit

If you go...

WHAT: Chinese New Year Celebration, dinner and a performance by Tai Yim's Kung Fu Dancers.

WHEN: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 23, with the performance at 5.

WHERE: Shepherd University dining hall, off King Street, Shepherdstown, W.Va.

COST: $6.50 for adults; $3.25 for children younger than 12

MORE: People with disabilities and others requiring special accommodations are asked to call in advance to Shepherd University's Office of Multicultural Affairs and Disability Support Services, 304-876-5453.

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