Chinese Culture Show Celebrates Year of the Snake

School of Dentistry

As the moon wanes, the end of the Chinese lunar calendar approaches, and many groups at UCSF prepare to celebrate the Year of the Snake, which officially begins this Sunday.  

The holiday is traditionally observed in China with a week of vacation filled with feasts and family time. Here in San Francisco, despite not being an official holiday, there will be many events across town, culminating in the famous Chinatown parade on February 23.  

In a city with the oldest Chinese community in United States, it is common to see red decorations in doorways, paper money burning on streets and hear the sound of firecrackers in every neighborhood. 

One campus group kicked off the festivities last week with a culture show featuring music, games and, of course, a Chinese feast.  The Chinese Health Professional Student Association, an inter-professional group that welcomes all interested students, threw its annual show Friday in the Millberry Union. Kicking off the event, Dr. Sean Mong from the School of Dentistry shared stories of New Year celebrations from the old country. 

“A long, long time ago, villagers discovered that they could scare away the Year Beast with red-colored things, lanterns and loud noises like firecrackers — and so many of the New Year’s traditions come from that,” he said. 

A number of performances followed, the highlight being an erhu quartet playing a virtuosic song that sounded like horses’ hooves pounding across the grasslands.  (The erhu is a Chinese two-stringed fiddle). 

During the feast, guests practiced Chinese calligraphy, made decorative lanterns and tried on outfits of various imperial styles from different Chinese dynasties.  People were treated to Purple Kow boba tea.  Thanks to Sisley Bao, Tiffany Hsu and the other industrious members of CHPSA for sharing this memorable event with the campus community.

 Happy Year of the Snake!


Welcome to Year of the Water Snake! Snake is the yin to last year’s Dragon yang. That said, Snake does not settle for mediocrity, either. We're likely to see significant developments in the area of science and technology this year.

Research and development are apt to flourish. This is a Water year as well, the element most closely associated with education and research, making 2013 a very special year for scientists and scholars. The Snake is a great sign, a positive one, with energy that can help us face all of the challenges ahead of us.