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Bangor Daily News, Monday, January 28, 2008   B3
Time for dragons and dumplings
Bangor Chinese School celebrates Year of the Rat early
BANGOR More than 200 people celebrated Chinese culture and traditions Saturday afternoon during an event marking the coming Chinese New Year. The Chinese lunar year doesn't officially arrive until Feb. 7, but like many community groups around the world, the Bangor Chinese School started celebrations this past weekend. School founder Jing Zhang said the observance was part of the school's outreach to the wider community Husson College's Peabody Hall was filled with the sounds of Chinese music and the smells of traditional Chinese New Year foods during the four-hour celebration. Dozens of children, many dressed in traditional Chinese clothing, scampered about the hall.

Bangor Chinese School was started in 2005 as a way to connect American and Chinese cultures, Zhang said. The school, which is based at Husson, offers Chinese language classes for children and adults, cultural education courses, and special programs for teachers and professionals who do business in China. School leaders also organize an annual trip to China and run a summer camp program. Zhang said more than 500 people have participated in school programs. About half of the participants are adults.

"After three years, the school is going very well," Zhang said. "We have a lot of students and a lot of programs."

The school celebrated an early Chinese New Year this past weekend with events at Husson College's Peabody Hall.

"After three years,the school is going very well."


Those attending Saturday's celebration had a chance to learn the art of Chinese calligraphy and how to make dumplings by hand. Children enrolled in Bangor Chinese School also demonstrated their language skills by performing several songs, including the Chinese version of "Happy New Year."

The celebration culminated with a traditional dragon dance involving a train of children tailing behind the dragon head. According to Chinese tradition, every lunar year is associated with one of 12 animals. 2008 marks the beginning of the 12-year cycle and is the "Year of the Rat"

For information on the Bangor Chinese School, visit www.bangorchinese.com

Jing Zhang (center) helps Tommy McCarthy draw the Chinese character
for love at the Bangor Chinese School in this 2006 photo.