By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer

mtkaactivityfor_webThe Minnetonka School District, located in the western Twin Cities area, held its second annual open house for the community to celebrate Chinese New Year at Minnetonka High School where a portion of the school was decorated and transformed to reflect the festive nature of the event.  As the group began to assemble about 5 p.m. on a Friday evening, it was apparent that they were anxious to celebrate the Year of the Ox as many of them came dressed in traditional Chinese attire.

Many gathered to celebrate the Year of the Ox at the Chinese New Year Celebration at Midtown Global Market on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009.  Members of the Chinese Senior Citizen Society and the Chinese Heritage Foundation read fortunes and translated children's names to Chinese, and wrote them in calligraphy onto bookmarks. There was also a cooking demonstration by Pham's Deli owner Katie Pham, Jarelle Barton played the guzheng, and the Golden Leopard Martial Arts School wowed the crowd with their performance. The Minnesota International Lion Dance team capped off the evening with the traditional two lion dance that paraded through the Market, ending at Jade Asian Bar and Restaurant. Midtown Global Market gave out hundreds of fortune cookies with great Market coupons inside, and the Northrop auditorium gave away two tickets to their Devine Performing Arts Chinese New Year Spectacular.  A fun time was had by all! 

By Barbara Harbin Cobb 

It was one of those days when you can remember where you were when you heard something, Barbara Harrison said.  "On that day in December 1978, I was standing in my kitchen when I heard on the television news that formal relations were to be re-established between China and the United States.  Then President Carter spoke.  I don't remember his exact words, but I remember how happy and excited they made me feel.  Many years later (in the 1990s), I met President Carter at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and I was able to tell him personally that I still remembered the day he made the announcement.  It was a moment that still sticks in my mind." 

 We continue our series on China’s 55 ethnic minority groups. This month features the Bonan, Bouyei, Dai, Daur ethnic minorities.

China has a population of 1.3 billion people and 56 ethnic groups.  Over 90 percent of the Chinese population belongs to the Han ethnic group.  The 55 ethnic minority groups in China have distinct languages, customs and identities that are also part of Chinese culture.  In this, and upcoming issues, we will present information about China’s ethnic minorities.

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