CLU hosts Chinese New Year celebration

Free event features food, music, dance, martial arts

The free event will celebrate the year of the wood horse (or green horse) with a traditional lion dance.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Jan. 24, 2014) California Lutheran University will host its popular Chinese New Year celebration from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in Soiland Recreation Center.

The free event will celebrate the year of the wood horse (or green horse) with a traditional lion dance and gong fu (martial arts). Ming Ming Jiang, a world-renowned soprano from Beijing, will sing. Other performers include the Thousand Oaks Chinese Folk Ensemble, YangSheng Choir, in-Harmony Choir, Thousand Oaks Chinese School Dance Group and Thousand Oaks Tai Ji Group.

Authentic Chinese egg rolls, dumplings, noodles and desserts will be served. Artists will demonstrate painting and calligraphy, and vendors will add to the festive atmosphere. Red envelopes will be distributed to participants for good luck.

Chinese New Year, which this year begins on Jan. 31, is the most important of the Chinese holidays. The holiday lasts 15 days and focuses on bringing good luck for the new year.

According to legend, Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian. To protect themselves, villagers put out food to satisfy the Nian. Later, finding that the beast feared the color red, they hung red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. Today, adults give red envelopes, often containing money, to children to symbolize wealth and prosperity in the coming year. Lanterns symbolize the brightness of spring. In dragon and lion dances, a group of dancers parade under elaborately decorated costumes to scare away bad luck.

In Chinese astrology, the year of the horse is considered a fortunate year that brings luck and good things, according to organizer and CLU faculty member Debby Chang. In Chinese culture, the horse is a symbol of nobility, class, speed and perseverance. People who are born in the year of the horse are smart, active and energetic, and they are fabulous speakers and dress fashionably. They seek freedom and happiness.

CLU’s Languages and Cultures Department, Multicultural Programs and Community Leaders Association are sponsoring the event.

Soiland Recreation Center is located in Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center at 130 Overton Court on the Thousand Oaks campus. Free parking is available in the lot at the northwest corner of Olsen Road and Mountclef Boulevard. For more information, contact Debby Chang at or Daniel Lawrence at 805-493-3489 or