FORT MILL --
Chinese New Year celebrations are in full swing in Fort Mill and the surrounding areas.
Bin and JJ Chen, owners of Simply Mandarin Academy on Hwy. 160, gathered their students, families and friends Thursday night to celebrate the holiday and welcome spring in traditional Chinese style.
February 10th this year is the Chinese New Year for the Year of the Snake, Bin says.
Thats the lunar year. Were just celebrating with students and families. Most people here today are in the kids group. Theyre doing some singing, Chinese New Year songs. Nathan is going to introduce himself in Chinese. Its sort of like Thanksgiving. Everybody gets together to have a meal. You know, its a big deal.
Chinese New Year falls on the first day of the first month of the lunar year. It marks the beginning of the Spring Festival, the most important holiday season in Chinese culture, which lasts for fifteen days and ends with the Lantern Festival.
Most people in the Western world are familiar with the Gregorian calendar, in which New Years Day falls on Jan. 1 each year. The Chinese calendar is based on lunar cycles, and each year corresponds to one of twelve legendary animals.
Guests at Simply Mandarin feasted on sesame chicken, lo mien, fried rice, spring rolls, fruit and the ever-popular Chinese donuts. Students danced, played instruments, and showed off language skills they developed over the year.
Simply Mandarin has a lot to celebrate. After their first year in business, JJ and Bin have been able to hire a second teacher, Lea Wu, and have added additional classes to their schedule, and they have big plans for the Year of the Snake: an expanded after school program, translation services, summer camp, and specialized adult classes for business people and travelers.
To learn more, go to simplymandarinacademy.com or call 704-705-1625.