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Chinese New Year Comes to Madison Square Garden
Evan Mantyk
1/10/2005



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NEW YORK—According to Chinese legend, the Nian sea monster came at the end of each year to eat people and wreak havoc. One year, an old monk with the face of a child showed up. He scared the monster away with bright red banners, lanterns, and fireworks.
There was much rejoicing.

Welcome to the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, the biggest holiday celebration for the biggest nation in the world. To celebrate, New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) is putting on its second annual Chinese New Year Gala at Madison Square Garden. The multi-lingual New York-based TV network will be hosting New Year galas across the world, from New York to London to Hong Kong.

“Our goal is not just to present an entertaining, eye-dazzling show- you can find those shows in plenty of other places,” said Mr. Rutang Chen, former manager of China’s Central Philharmonic Orchestra, “I hope that after the show our audience will go home with a deeper understanding and connection to Chinese culture.”

The New York performances will include epic dances, and choral and instrumental music, such as famous Chinese tenor Guan Guimin. One co-host will announce in English, and another in Chinese.

The theme of this year’s gala is “Myths and Legends.”

“The Chinese people had a culture for thousands of years that was very spiritual. The relationship between man, the world around him and the divine was of great importance to our ancestors. They showed respect to nature, had faith in Buddhas, Taos, etc., and stressed humbleness, virtue and morals,” said Chen.

“What’s known as ‘myths and legends’ today were really an essential part of our cultural heritage. And many aspects of the Chinese culture today still reflect that deeply rooted heritage,” said Chen.

Much traditional Chinese culture was suppressed or destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. For example, most Chinese don’t know the history of the Chinese word for year, “nian,” according to Ying Chen, programming director for the gala. The gala will have a performance of the legend of how the Nian sea monster that came once a year was scared away by a monk.

Based on the Chinese lunar calendar, this year the Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 9, and in the Chinese zodiac is the year of the Rooster. NTDTV’s gala will be on Feb. 4. For more information visit www.newyeargala.ntdtv.com.

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