News Release

Chinese New Year celebration at Center for Arts & History

LEWISTON, Idaho – The public is invited to join LCSC Center for Arts & History for Chinese New Year, Thursday, February 19.

The “Year of the Goat” Chinese New Year reception begins at 4:30 p.m., with Chinese hors d’oeuvres, Pipa music, tea, and presentations by Priscilla Wegars and Patricia Keith.

Chinese scholar Priscilla Wegars, Ph.D., is an affiliate assistant professor and volunteer curator in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Idaho.  She starts the evening with her lecture Chinese New Year Customs and Traditions.  Wegars, of Moscow, is a historian, historical archaeologist, and artifact analyst.  She founded the University of Idaho's Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC), a unique resource of artifacts, images, and documentary materials essential for understanding Asian American archaeological sites, economic contributions, and cultural history.

Patricia Keith, Ph.D., is a filmmaker and a professor emeritus of English at Lewis-Clark State College.  She will present her short film, Beuk Aie Temple: At the Confluence of Three Cultures.  A question and answer session with Keith follows the film.  Keith taught literature, composition, scriptwriting, and video production at LCSC.  She has collaborated on several films, including two feature-length documentaries on Burma and Tibet and a 35-minute documentary set in Ecuador.  She has completed two documentaries on Hells Canyon - most recently a three-DVD set documenting the proceedings of the 2012 Chinese Remembering conference, including the placing and dedication of a memorial stone at Chinese Massacre Cove in Hells Canyon.

The evening’s celebration ends with traditional Pipa music played by Jiahong Li.

Chinese New Year has been celebrated for more than 4000 years.  It originated in China and today is celebrated all over the world in areas where there is a large Chinese population.  The origins of the holiday can be traced to the story of Nian, a wild beast who attacked a village on New Year's Eve.  The villagers discovered that Nian did not like the color red, loud noises, or bright lights.  Villagers set off firecrackers and painted their doors red to keep the beast away.

Today, Chinese New Year is a way for families and friends to get together to share wishes for luck and prosperity for the coming year.  It is the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar.  The color red is used to symbolize luck, and activities such as parades with bright lights and loud noises are used to reenact the story of the celebration.

For more information about the event and other LCSC Center for Arts & History events, please call 208.792.2243 or visit www.lcsc.edu/CAH.