CHICAGO — As the Year of the Dragon comes to a close, those
who celebrate Chinese culture prepare for the arrival of the Year of the Snake
on Feb. 10. This is the sixth of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in
the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.
“Traditionally, the snake is a symbol of intelligence in
Chinese culture,” says Li Jin, director of the Chinese Studies Program
at DePaul University. People celebrate being smart and the more refined things
in life. We also hope that people born during this year will have more
A snake often is associated with the dragon, and the snake
is often considered a small dragon by the Chinese. The snake and the dragon are
so linked and alike that the Year of the Snake is preceded by the Year of the
Dragon, the most special of years in Chinese culture.
“The dragon is the symbol of Chinese culture, so it bears a
special meaning for Chinese people,” Jin notes. “The snake doesn’t have as
special a place in the culture. However, it is considered an introspective and
intuitive creature in Chinese culture, so they say that people who are born in
the year of the snake are more cunning and smart, but there is not a special
celebration for this year.”
DePaul University enrolled nearly 400 students from China in
2012. Each year, Jin brings together students from China, DePaul’s Chinese
Studies students and performers, representatives from the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute and
residents from Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood to celebrate the incoming
Chinese New Year.
This year the event will be held on Feb. 10, the start of
the Chinese New Year celebration, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in Room 120 of the
Student Center, 1550 N. Sheffield Ave., on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. The
event is a collaboration between DePaul’s Chinese Studies Program and the
DePaul International Student Organization.
The Chinese Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program
in DePaul’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, offering a major and a
minor in Chinese Studies, and a minor in advanced-level Chinese Language. The
program offers English-taught courses on Chinese arts, art history, business,
communication, economy, history, political science, philosophy and psychology
as well as four years of Chinese language classes.
Each year the program offers
full scholarships to four students to study abroad in China for one
semester. Each summer, the program also
runs a two-month intensive language study abroad program at Fudan University in
Shanghai. Additional information is online at http://las.depaul.edu/mol/Programs/Chinese/index.asp.