The Cherry Hill library will host a Chinese New Year celebration from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, an event that will feature guzheng and dizi music performances as well as dance performances led by the Chinese School of South Jersey and Huaxia Chinese school.
This will be the first Chinese New Year celebration held by the library since 2017; previous plans to were put on pause because of COVID. In the past few years, the library has also increased the number of its cultural celebrations, including a Diwali celebration and a Japanese Cherry Blossom event.
“We’ve had a tremendous response, not just from the people who belong to that community, but from people outside of that culture as well,” said Erica Moon, youth services supervisor for the library. “We’ve always had a packed house every time we hold one of these, to the point where we do have to turn people away because it’d be a fire code hazard.”
The Chinese New Year is celebrated based on the lunar calendar, following the moon rather than the Gregorian calendar. This year marks the Year of the Dragon, part of the Chinese Zodiac. Each year, the year rotates between 12 different animals, starting with the rat and ending with the pig.
Adult services librarian Elby Wang hopes others will better understand the Chinese culture, such as how the dragon is viewed differently and in a more positive light. Other customs include wearing something new for New Year’s Eve, staying with the paternal side of a family on New Year’s Day and with the mother’s side for the second day, Wang noted.
“For here, Christmas gifts are an amazing thing, but for Chinese, the red envelope is a fun thing for kids to look forward to in the holidays,” Wang explained. ” … I hope after this event people will know a little (more) about Chinese culture and how we celebrate the Chinese New Year.”
In addition to performances, the library will also feature a tea ceremony, a table set up with Chinese toys for children to play with, traditional Chinese food (including an egg roll cooking demonstration), paper cutting, Chinese knot-tying and calligraphy.
Registration is required for the event; visit the library website at chplnj.org.
“The library’s entire mission is that when you walk in, you should find something that speaks to you or you should see yourself somewhere in the library,” Moon noted. “With that being said, we want people to not only see themselves, but have the opportunity to explore outside themselves.”