Westerville News & Public Opinion

Connections will be focus of Chinese New Year festival


As members of the local Chinese community celebrate the Chinese New Year, they also will celebrate the connections between China and central Ohio.

Ohio Chinese Culture Link, Ohio Contemporary Chinese Schools, Central Ohio Families with Children from China and other Chinese cultural groups will host their sixth annual Chinese New Year celebration from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Westerville Central High School, 7118 Mount Royal Ave.

Chinese New Year was Feb. 10 and ushered in the Year of the Snake.

As in past years, the free event will include authentic Chinese food, children's activities, martial-arts demonstrations, cultural arts, folk dances, table tennis, Chinese chess, Go, Mahjong, badminton, crafts and vendors.

This year's event also aims to highlight the connection between Ohio and China by featuring a special presentation on the relationship between Ohio and China's Hubei province.

Hubei province has been a sister-state of Ohio since 1979, the first such relationship between an American state and a Chinese province, said Minru Li, one of the event's organizers.

"It's a first in friendship between China and the United States," Li said

There will be photo exhibit on Hubei province, and three films connected to the province will be shown: Girl Students' Dormitory, which was written by a student of Wuhan University, a sister university of Ohio State since 1980, and shot on the university's campus; Love of Horthown Tree, a movie shot in Hubei province; and Guerrilla of Honghu Lake, a film set in Hubei.

There also will be information about a recently released book written by 108-year-old Chinese linguist Youguang Zhou, the Historical Evolution of Chinese Languages and Scripts, which was published in cooperation with Ohio State professor Galal Walker.

The book's pages are printed with a side-by-side English-Chinese translation and will appear on both American and Chinese bookshelves simultaneously, Li said.

"Because they have different ideologies and they're so different, very few American books go into Chinese markets and very few Chinese books get into American markets," Li said. "Through this collaboration, we really break down walls."

Li said organizers are excited to again hold the festival at Westerville Central. Last year's event attracted more than 7,000 people.

The festival celebrating the most important day in Chinese culture has been embraced by the community in the past five years, Li said.

"Because of the support, we've found a home in Westerville. We're proud to be part of the Westerville community," Li said.