The Year of the Horse thundered in as the Fort Wayne Chinese Families and Friends Association hosted its 31st annual Chinese New Year celebration Saturday evening at IPFW Walb Student Union.The celebration started in 1983, said Shouchen Dun, association president. At first it was just families getting together to celebrate the new year, but as the Chinese community in Fort Wayne grew so did the event. Last year nearly 300 people attended the celebration, which is open to the public. The association now has 70 adult members. The group has grown so much that for the first time they will be creating a board. The president will appoint some of the board members, and others will be elected by association members.
Historically the celebration is meant to chase away the evil spirits at the beginning of each new year. That is why fireworks are often used included in the traditional celebration, Dun said. It is also a time where friends and family gather to spend time together and celebrate.
It is the largest annual event the association has, although members have another celebration in the fall, the mid-autumn festival, which is also held at Walb Student Union. Like the New Year's celebration it is open to the public and the association serves traditional moon cakes.
2014 is the Year of the Horse, and children at the celebration were busy coloring in horse pictures and then posting them on a bulletin board. The evening included a buffet-style dinner with traditional cuisine and was followed by performances by local school students, as well as Chinese IPFW students and association members. The entertainment included traditional dancing and singing.