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The Year of the Dragon in Tuscaloosa


Saturday will be celebrated by much of the world as the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. Tuscaloosa is no exception. This year the celebration will be hosted by the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars on the UA campus. Dr. Di Luo is an associate professor of History at The University of Alabama. She explains the Chinese Zodiac and the coming year:

“In the way to counting years, they make it a twelve-year cycle and each year will be represented by one animal. So, this coming year, 2024, will be Year of Dragon. Dragon usually considered as symbol for success, honor and also kind of power, etc.” Dr. Luo mentions that because of this characteristic, many babies are born in years that represent this type of prosperity. However, there is a bit more to understanding the complexities of Chinese cosmology. Each year is also connected to one of the five elements. Dr. Luo explained, “So you may be born in the fire dragon year, and maybe someone else can be born in the water dragon year because they use those five elements in combination with the Zodiac in defining a nature of a certain year.”

Dr. Luo also said the celebration of the Lunar New Year has a long history at UA. “I think that tradition can [be] traced back to the 1970s because when I look at the university archives and I saw actually the Chinese students actually start to hosting those kind of celebration event on campus as early as the 70s at least.”

That tradition continues this year as the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at UA will be putting on the the 2024 Year of the Dragon Gala event to offer attendees a display of traditional Chinese customs and heritage. The event will be this Sunday from 5pm to 7:30 pm at the Student Center Ballroom. Tickets are $5.

More about the Lunar New Year and Dr. Luo can be found here.

Joe Moody is a senior news producer and host for Alabama Public Radio. Before joining the news team, he taught academic writing for several years nationally and internationally. Joe has a Master of Arts in foreign language education as well as a Master of Library and Information Studies. When he is not playing his tenor banjo, he enjoys collecting and listening to jazz records from the 1950s and 60s.
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