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Fayetteville: Chinese New Year festivites begin

Ten children took part in a timely fashion show this weekend, sporting traditional Chinese dress to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Rat on Feb. 7. The show was part of the fifth annual New Year's event put on at the Fayetteville Free Library by coordinators Janis Martin and Genie DuPell. The children who participated in the show are kids from Families with Children from China (FCC), an international volunteer organization made up of people interested in or involved with children adopted from China.

Nine girls and one boy, ranging in ages from 4 to 12 years old, wore outfits mainly purchased from their native country at the time of their adoption. Martin told the audience, comprised of family members and friends, that many Chinese garments are sewn with symbols.

"Peonies mean richness and prosperity," she said. "And chrysanthemums mean longevity. Even colors can have special meaning."

Martin said she hopes to take the fashion show on the road and will definitely tour the Oaks at Menorah Park on East Genesee Street in DeWitt as well as Moses DeWitt Elementary School. In addition, she has another four tentative venues in mind.

Prior to watching the young models take the "runway," the event opened with a beautiful performance by 14-year-old Cortland resident Quing Quing (pronounced Ching Ching), or Chu Qing Zhu, which is her formal name. She played the Gu Zheng, an ancient Chinese zither with 21 strings that play four complete octaves.

Born in Zhuhai City in China, she was adopted in 2005 at the age of 12, her father Neil McCallum said. She's been a student of the Gu Zheng for four years now.

Martin and DuPell kept the party going by constructing crafts such as fans and red envelopes with the children. Customarily, children are given red envelopes on New Year's Day with good luck money wrapped inside.

Each Chinese New Year is marked by one of 12 animals; therefore, year names are recycled every 12 years. The Year of the Rat begins on Feb. 7. Those born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984 and 1996 all maintain this animal as their astrological sign.

According to the web site c-c-c.org., people born under the Year of the Rat are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex; they work hard to achieve their goals and are likely to be perfectionists.

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