For those who have already reneged on their New Year's resolutions, don't despair — recharge: Millions of people around the world will soon be celebrating new beginnings again with the Chinese New Year.
A free event on Saturday at Galaxie Library in Apple Valley will offer a chance to learn more about Chinese culture — and ring in the Year of the Horse at the same time.
The morning will feature six to eight dancers from the Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center performing traditional Chinese ethnic dances and a New Year's celebration dance, said Yan Zhang, outreach dance coordinator for the center.
After the performance, dancers will hold a short workshop to teach attendees some of their movements. The performance and workshop are appropriate for all ages.
There will also be a table featuring Chinese costumes, which people can try on if they want, said Zhang.
"What we're doing is trying to be as inclusive as possible with our program activities," said Russ Cogar, adult services manager for the Dakota County Library system. "And with Chinese New Year's being, of course, one of the most important traditional Chinese holidays, why not celebrate it here at Dakota County Library?"
Last year, about 100 people attended a similar Chinese New Year event sponsored by the library, he said. This year, he's expecting an even bigger crowd of 150 to 200 people.
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the year in China, the equivalent of Christmas in the United States, Zhang said.
The 15-day celebration officially begins on Jan. 31 this year. In China, everyone wears red and families have huge feasts over the two weeks, Zhang said. People also celebrate with fireworks and dancing in the streets, she said.
In addition to the library event, Chinese Dance Center dancers will perform at four or five other New Year's events, more than at any other time of year, said Zhang.
"It's really important for people who are Chinese to be able to celebrate here," she said. There are more than 15,000 Chinese-Americans in Minnesota, she said.
But the event isn't just for Chinese-Americans; last year, it "had crossover appeal," Cogar said.
The Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center, a nonprofit, was started in 2002 with the goal of promoting Chinese culture through dance. It's also a school, teaching traditional dance to students ranging in age from 3 to 60, said Zhang.
The event is just one of many cultural events the library sponsors every year, including offerings during Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month, Cogar said. "It brings a welcoming feel for the community to know that their library reflects who they are."