The Year of the Tiger

Southern Oregonians, Chinese or not, will usher in the Year of the Tiger with nothing less than the roar it deserves.

The Chinese New Year, 4708, officially begins Sunday, Feb. 14.

Because the Chinese calendar takes into account both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems, and because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.

This year's local Chinese New Year celebration will feature events Friday in Ashland and Medford and will culminate in Jacksonville on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Jeffrey MacLevin, a Jacksonville restaurant owner, recalled the first local Chinese New Year celebration he started in 2001.

"We had as much Chinese or Asian education, entertainment and activities for children as we could muster," he said.

He and several others, including three current board members of the Southern Oregon Chinese Cultural Association, planned and organized the event to pay homage to the Chinese who did much of the labor and drudge work in Jacksonville during the 1800s.

"We created Chinese New Year for these unsung heroes who helped establish the Jacksonville community," MacLevin said.

"Being a lunar society, the Chinese New Year is an important event in China. So why not have one here?"

MacLevin has been pleased to see the event more than double in size and events over the past nine years.

This year, Southern Oregonians will celebrate the occasion with Chinese traditions such as the annual Lion Dance and Dragon Parade, and also will have the opportunity to learn more about the Chinese heritage embedded in their own community.


The Southern Oregon University will celebrate the year of the tiger with a demonstration of Kung Fu by Shaolin Temple Master Zheng Hong Feng, followed by a musical performance by the 12-member Zhengshou University Arts Troupe just arrived from Henan Province in China. The performances begin at noon Friday, Feb. 12, in the Meese Meeting Room, in the Hannon Library. Call 541-552-6835.

The Ashland Branch Library will feature Marissa Moss' children's book, "Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee," at a book talk at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at the library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd. Maggie Gee was one of two Chinese-American women pilots who served in World War II.

"From Tiananmen Square to Promontory Summit," a collection of mixed media artwork by Chinese-American artist Zhi Lin, will be displayed at the Schneider Museum of Art on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., through Feb. 21.

While the Chinese gold miners established themselves in Jacksonville in the 1800s, Ashland's Chinese population was established by railroad workers. Historian and archeologist Jeff Lalande will discuss some of the archaelogical evidence left by Chinese workers in the Siskiyou Mountains in a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum, 258 A St. (upstairs above Lela's Restaurant). An exhibit, "Men of Iron and of Steel: Chinese Railroad Workers in the Siskiyou Mountains," also will be available. Call 541-261-6605.


Four educational display panels will spotlight the nation's first major immigration legislation preventing Chinese people from immigrating to the U.S. in 1882.

The museum-exhibit, "Remembering 1882: Fighting for Civil Rights in the Shadow of the Chinese Exclusion Act," was provided by the San Francisco Historical Society and will be displayed through Friday, Feb. 12, at the SOU/RCC Higher Education Center. On Saturday, the display will be moved to the U.S. Hotel in Jacksonville.


The primary hub of New Year's festivities will kick off at 8 a.m. in Jacksonville with the Pouncing Tiger 5K Fun Run, which begins at Bigham Knoll. All ages are invited to participate. The runner fee is $20, which includes a T-shirt or $10 without a T-shirt. Applications are available at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce or online at

Following Chinese tradition, the Lion Dance and Dragon Parade will chase away bad luck and bring good fortune in the new year. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. and will be led by Lan Chi Lion Dancers.

Following the parade, other activities are scheduled starting at 11:30 a.m. at several Jacksonville venues. Look of martial arts, calligraphy, acupuncture, children's games, cooking demonstrations, exhibits and lectures on the Chinese gold miners in Jacksonville.

Dragon Art Studio Puppeteers will perform the ancient Chinese puppetry at noon and 2 p.m. at the U.S. Hotel, on the corner of Third and California streets. The world class puppeteers will demonstrate the cultural practice of puppetry, combining music, humor, elegance, theater and special effects.

For more information on these or other Chinese New Year events, call 541-282-3384 or visit

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