This past Saturday, children of Chinese descent and many others came to experience a Chinese New Year celebration with games and activities at the Urbana Free Library.
According to Lauren Chambers, the programming and outreach manager, the idea behind the event was to pull together Urbana’s diverse community to celebrate different cultural holidays that are celebrated all over the country. This month, Tuesday, February 5, is the official day of the Chinese New Year celebration which is celebrated by over 1.4 billion people.
However, Urbana Free Library events are not only open to Urbana locals. Residents of Champaign and other surrounding towns often attend as well.
The event is part of the Urbana Free Library program calendar, like many other events that will be provided throughout the year, because of their new partnership with the University YMCA. “We are very lucky this year to partner with the New American Welcome Center, so we arrange some of the events,” Chambers said.
At the Chinese New Year celebration, kids were crafting paper lanterns meant to mimic the ones that can be seen during the celebration in China. “New American Welcome Center also brought the bingo game for the kids today, which they loved, based on the zodiac animals,” Chambers said.
The Urbana Free Library provided other traditional aspects that are staples for celebrating Chinese New Year, one activity showcasing the tradition of red envelopes. “One of the traditions of the Chinese New Year is to give out red envelopes where parents give it to their children, unmarried family members, and their parents. Normally they have money inside and it’s for luck and prosperity in the new year, so we also had red envelopes to make in accordance to that,” Chambers said.
The event served as a way to show community members how to enjoy cultural holidays different than their own. There were a lot of parents who were participating in the events with their children, becoming equally excited as they made new memories around the holiday.
“It’s fantastic. We love to see the turnout, we love to see everyone that comes and has a good time at it. And it’s fun for us, it’s fun for them we just really enjoy it,” Chambers said.