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Chinese New Year celebration giving some people ways to connect back to Chinese heritage

Chinese New Year starts on January 22 this year.

The Quad City Chinese Association (QCCA) celebrated the Chinese New Year early on Saturday, Jan. 14 at Red Lantern Fine Chinese Dining in Davenport.

A social luncheon was followed by a dragon dance, giving guests the chance to see a centuries-old dance. 

“We’re seeing a lot of people interested in Chinese New Year, especially now that we’re past a pandemic,” QCCA President Mary Shuda said. “More people want to socialize and get together. So this year, we’re hoping to get people together to socialize and to celebrate the New Year!”

And for 25-year-old Katherine Maxwell, it’s an opportunity to get back in touch with her roots. 

“I feel like there are a lot of people in the Quad Cities who are Asian, and most of them [may be] adopted, [but] they don’t know where to look because they’re always surrounded by people who are not their heritage,” Maxwell said. “So I feel like this group is really calling out and saying, hey, we’re here, we’re here to support you. We’re here to educate and inform you that there are traditions that you should be aware of and knowledgeable of and have some experience with.”

Maxwell was adopted from China when she was just 15-months-old, but she says her adopted parents encouraged her to find out more about her birth country when she was younger.

“They’ve never tried to not teach me. I would say ever since I was young, there were books that they would buy about people who were Asian who were adopted by white people, and [I’m] very grateful now that I’m older, that they were proactive and keeping me in touch with my Asian heritage because I do know some people who are from Asian culture, who their parents may not have been as proactive and not as in touch.”

And for 57-year-old Hong Xu, it’s a chance for her to experience her native country’s culture once more.

[In China] we usually celebrate from the eve of the festival and have a big dinner,” Xu said. Xu married an American man in 2015 so she’s only been living in America for a little over half-a-decade. But she says it was because of the warm welcome Shuda gave to her that she’s been able to once again celebrate Chinese New Year in the QC as she did in China, at least in a similar fashion. 

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