Lunar New Year Celebrations

The Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine (CAFAM) in partnership with the University of Southern Maine Confucius Institute is pleased to announce we will be celebrating the ‘Year of the Ox’ with a virtual event beginning on February 11th, 2021.

Our usual Chinese New Year celebration is the largest and longest-sustaining Chinese cultural event in Maine, attracting hundreds of visitors each year to enjoy a day of live performances, speakers, crafts, displays and delicious food. However, due to the pandemic, we have moved our event online to adhere to state restrictions.

新 年 快 樂

The event will kick off with welcoming remarks recorded by the President of CAFAM, Jennifer DeCristoforo, and University of Southern Maine Confucius Institute’s Brianne Hodgkins on Thursday Feb. 11, 12:00 p.m. EST.

Virtual Program (available throughout the New Year season)

  • Lion Dance – Steve Wong and Family (Maine lion dance troupe)
  • Calligraphy Demonstration – Professor Tony Wang, USM Confucius Institute
  • Chinese Zodiac and the ‘Year of the Ox’ – Brianne Hodgkins, USM Confucius Institute
  • Spring Festival Papercut – Lucky Bamboo Crafts (printable template here)
  • “Spring Comes to Snowy Mountain 雪山春晓” – Guzheng, Professor Daisy Wu, Performing Arts Department & Confucius Institute at Alfred University 
  • Festival Medley – Erhu, Zhantao Lin, Boston-area artist
  • Legend of Nian Monster – animated story
  • ‘US and China COVID-19 Missteps’ – Dr. Joseph McDonnell, Muskie School, USM 

Saturday Feb. 13, 4:00-5:00 p.m. EST

  • LIVE Cooking Class with Maine Chef and Author, Chris Toy – Lobster Wonton Soup with Egg Rolls

About CAFAM’s Lunar New Celebration

The Lunar New Year (LNY) Celebration is CAFAM’s most anticipated event of the year and the largest celebration of Chinese culture in Maine, drawing over 750 people each year. Our annual celebration appeals to families, adults, and children of all backgrounds. At the celebration, you’ll find the following:

  • Intriguing speakers and interactive demonstrations
  • Exciting Chinese folk song and dance performances
  • Fun arts and crafts for the whole family
  • Delicious Chinese food by local vendors

Explore past celebrations below to learn the beautiful history of LNY since CAFAM’s inception, read about sponsorship opportunities for both individual and business donors alike, see press coverage of the event, or take a stroll down memory lane.

As we continue to grow, CAFAM’s mission for cultural awareness and community growth pushes the organization to provide a fresh and exciting new LNY program each year.

The History of CAFAM’s Lunar New Year Celebration

Soon after CAFAM was established on August 8, 1988, the organization held a small banquet for Chinese New Year (CNY), the first major event organized by CAFAM to ring in the lunar new year.

It wasn’t until 1991 when South Portland Public Library approached CAFAM to organize a fair that the first true CNY fair was born.  The venues have changed over the years, moving from the library to the YWCA on Spring Street, and more recently, in 2001, to Catherine McAuley High School on Stevens Avenue.

From its inception, the New Year Fair (or New Year Celebration as we now call it) features a variety of food and activities for both children and adults. From the start, CAFAM always provides craft activities for younger children, always based on the theme of that year’s zodiac animal.

Dance performances began roughly in 2001, with the debut of a ribbon dance from CAFAM Chinese School students.

Presentations and other programs for adults and have varied in topic year after year to appeal to enthusiasts of history, culture, fine and performing arts, science, medicine, and economics.  Topics have ranged from Chinese history in Maine, Qi Gong philosophy, acupuncture, and other Chinese healing arts, business in China, calligraphy, and more.

Past celebrations

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