Greenville community brings in Chinese New Year together
By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, February 10, 2019
From tidying up the house, to wearing red and sleeping with money under their pillows, billions around the world are celebrating the Chinese New Year.
In Greenville, hundreds of people came out to the student center at East Carolina University on Sunday to celebrate the holiday during the 2019 Chinese New Year Celebration, a tradition that has been going for more than a decade.
Sunday’s event featured arts and crafts, a stage show and a dinner featuring authentic Chinese cuisine.
This is the year of the pig, one of 12 animals on the Zodiac calendar.
“The year of the golden pig, we call it,” organizer Lucky Xue said. “The pig has a big belly, and the pig represents a bank.
“This year means good fortune and you’re more relaxed and have good fortune, money, coming in,” Xue joked.
Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly spoke at the event and brought along his two daughters, who painted Chinese lanterns.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Connelly said. “I can tell you I’ve been the mayor for just over a year, and I’ve been to so many different events, and I look forward to this event every year. It’s so exciting, it’s so culturally diverse and it’s exactly what our community needs.
“The most exciting thing to me is the fact if you look around, you see so many children in this room that are learning the Chinese culture and the diversity throughout the community,” Connelly said. “The city, about a decade ago, signed on to the National League of Municipalities to be an inclusive community and we want to be an inclusive community that includes everybody.”
For Xue, the event at ECU helps bring the Asian community together while fostering an appreciation and celebration of Chinese culture in Greenville.
“We want to have a time or place to get together to have something traditionally Chinese to celebrate,” Xue said.
Through the years, the event has grown. The decision to move it from Wright Auditorium to the student center is something that allowed for an uptick in attendance, according to Xue.
“We’ve held this event for several years, more than 10 years, but it used to be just a stage show in Wright Auditorium,” she said. “This year we planned to move it to the new student center to have it as an open event so local family members can join us. A lot of people are coming for this event. “
Xue said that activities were added to the stage show.
“For the activity part, we have more than 10 different events,” she said. “We have pig photo booths, ring toss, Chinese calligraphy, lantern decorating, Chinese riddles, the wishing tree and different other activities.
“Then for the stage show, we have invited people from Raleigh, North Carolina State University, East Carolina University dance school performers and our Greenville Chinese School kids will perform,” Xue said.
The purpose of the event was to make Greenville more inclusive of all people, Xue said.
“A lot of people are involved in this,” she said. “We’re just trying to host an event that can let our Chinese people feel at home here. We welcome all people here to enjoy some traditional Chinese events as (the mayor) said, we need Greenville to be more diverse.”
“(The New Year’s event) is very important for local people, especially for our Chinese people because the Chinese New Year is a big event,” Xue said. “It’s almost like Christmas in China.”
The event is a joint production of the Greenville Chinese School and the East Carolina University Office of International Affairs.
Contact Tyler Stocks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9566.