Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 4:14 pm | Fair 67º


Local News

Chinese Community in Santa Barbara to Ring in New Year

There once was a monster called Nian that came out once a year during the “most horrific” and “coldest time of winter” to prey on people living in the village. After many years and deaths, the villagers fought back: They lit fireworks to scare it off, and stayed up all night cooking and eating to accompany each other and to keep guard. Decorations in red were hung, believing the color helped scare off the monster.

Nian mean “year” in Chinese. This Saturday, the Chinese community in Santa Barbara will gather to ring in their new year — the year of the snake.

There will be two main events in Santa Barbara, one organized by Chinese residents, and one by students — following each other, but at different locations.

“[It] is the most important festival in China,” said Stella Shuai, a 22-year-old global studies major at UCSB. “Since most Chinese students here are international ... with families back [home], our Chinese student and scholar associations [come] together to celebrate this traditional festival as if we were [back home].”

Shuai moved to the United States from China when she was 12. This year, she’s the director of the annual event organized together by Santa Barbara City College and UCSB.

First, the Santa Barbara Chinese-American Association is hosting a daytime event, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave.

The following event will take place at UCSB’s Campbell Hall from 7 to 10 p.m.

There will be different types of entertainment; dance, song and instrument performances, including an ancient Chinese costume show, a comedy sketch and games.

“The entire auditorium is filled with Chinese students,” Shuai said about last year’s event, and estimates more scholars to attend this year because of a growth of the country’s population at the institution. They make up the second-largest population of the international students at SBCC.

Hounong Li, 20, a communication and political science major, is president of the Chinese Student Association at SBCC. He said the annual event will bring local Chinese scholars together.

“We want to feel at home,” Li said. “We want to feel accompanied.”

Snake — one out of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac — is known as the small dragon. Li said he assumes it’s honored out of fear and respect because “snakes are always a threat to people.”

The other animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each year is dedicated to one animal in a repetitive sequence.

“Snake is not always people’s favorite — especially not mine, I have a phobia,” said Li, who was born in the year of the monkey.

Both events this weekend are free, and only the first will offer food in form of a lunch at the price of $15. For more information, click here or email Stella Shuai at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to new[email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >