News Release

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 intelligence.”

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

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