Mason Chinese Church celebrates the year of the Tiger with football
Members of the Cincinnati Chinese Church are excited to continue Lunar New Year celebrations by watching the Bengals play in the Super Bowl.
Church member and Greater Cincinnati Chinese School board member Allan Cheng says the church is hosting a watch party at its Mason campus. The church was founded in the mid 1960s and many of its members are first and second generation immigrants, he explains.
"Some people are very new to football so we want to take this opportunity to let our people know more (about) football, know more (about the) Bengals, know more (about) Cincinnati. That's our purpose," Cheng says.
He expects about 50 people will gather in a large space at the church that's been decorated for the new year. Some of those watching are very new to American football and are interested in learning all the rules and ins and outs of the sport.
"We are interested in American football and want to know more and more about the game because some people, before, they didn't have any idea about it."
When the Bengals won the AFC Championship, interest grew even more, he says. A group gathered to watch that game, too.
"We Chinese people want to support our American local team. Support Cincinnati. Wherever we're needed we want to provide our support."
As WVXU previously reported, immediately after the Bengals beat Kansas City to advance to the Super Bowl, social media was flooded with people pointing out the football achievement aligned with the Chinese New Year being the year of the Tiger. The Bengals mascot, of course, being a Bengal tiger has had fans proclaiming this is Cincinnati's time to win.
Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, began Feb. 1. While the first seven days are considered the official public holiday, celebrations last up to 16 days. That means the Super Bowl on Feb. 13 falls within the festival period. The Lunar New Year aligns with the Chinese zodiac, a repeating 12-year cycle of animal signs and their characteristics.
Cheng says this being the year of the Tiger means a lot to him.
"The tiger is a very famous animal in our 12 zodiac animals," he explains. "It's power. It's strength. It's dedication. Also it means victory. When we say 'tiger' we mean we will always win—over the game, over the whatever kind of competition."