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Academy students participate in 2016's Year of the Monkey Chinese New Year's Parade in San Francisco.
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Chinese New Year 2017 will mark the Year of the Fire Rooster. In the Chinese tradition, each person’s personality is characterized by the zodiac sign of their birth year, and one of five elements: Gold, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. The rooster occupies the 10th position within the zodiac; those born under the Fire Rooster zodiac sign in 2017 may embody traits such as loyalty, trustworthiness, responsibility and a strong sense of timekeeping. Other traits of the rooster include punctuality—the rooster is the first to wake and “cock-a-doodle-doo” to call others to rise each day. Those born under the rooster sign are said have a high degree of self-confidence and nurture a strong self-image, and are seen as hardworking, gaining the respect of those around them. They most often lead by instinct and their lucky colors are gold, red and brown, and have the lucky numbers 5, 7 and 8.
This will be the 159th anniversary of the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco. In the time when many Chinese were immigrating to the United States in search of a better life, many settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a way of passing down their customs from generation to generation, they continued Chinese traditions through festivals and celebrations—including the Chinese New Year Parade.
Today, the parade in San Francisco is the largest Chinese cultural event celebrated in the United States, with the largest attendance of people of various Chinese communities and organizations in California.
The Traditional Dragon Dance of Chinese New Year by Academy student Shiyao Jiang, School of Visual Development.
The legend of the creation of the Chinese zodiac has been passed down through generations. The story goes that long ago in China, the Jade Emperor decided there should be a way of measuring time. On his birthday he told all the animals that there was to be a swimming race. The first 12 animals across a fast-flowing river would be the winners, and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them.
The goat, the monkey and the rooster worked together to finish the race. They explained to the Emperor how they had shared the raft the rooster had found. The goat and monkey had cleared weeds and pushed the raft to the shore. The Emperor was very pleased that the animals had worked together. He said the goat would be the eighth zodiac animal, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the 10th.
From that point on, the Rooster zodiac sign would be known as the perfectionist—symbolized by courage, resourcefulness, personal confidence and a knack for observation.
Academy of Art University invites the public to submit personal artwork inspired by the celebration of the New Year. This can feature the Year of the Rooster, or special themes or traditions of the Chinese lunar New Year celebrations...or even be what you consider special or important about the New Year. Submit you artwork in a Facebook post and include the hashtag # #ArtUCNY2017. Submissions will be published on the Academy of Art University Facebook page in a photo gallery, and the artwork with the highest amount of likes will win the person who submits it a ticket to attend the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade from the viewing tent at the finale of the parade route. The winner will also attend the parade banquet—along with Academy representatives—immediately after the parade, and will receive a limited-edition custom Academy sweatshirt with the Year of the Rooster symbol.
See contest rules here.
The Academy’s involvement in this vibrant and entertaining event over the years has included awards and recognition for the university's intricately decorated parade floats. Since 2014, the Academy’s float has been recognized by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce with the Most Artistic Float Award.
This year’s parade float lives up to the high degree of creativity and artistic merit exemplified in the many floats of the Chinese New Year tradition. Students from numerous schools collaborated in the production and design of the Year of the Rooster float. This year’s creation included work by students studying welding, sculpture, musical composition, acting and fine art to create a one-of-a-kind presentation. See what goes into the making of this year’s float below.
Stephen Lyons installs the lighting around the metal frame for the Year of the Rooster float.
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