Dragon Graces Chinese New Year
The mightiest sign of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon, is gracing 2012 with its presence. And while many celebrated the New Year on January 1, Chinese families everywhere are still in the midst of the 15-day long welcome, which began January 23.
Students, staff and visitors were invited to share in the festivities, including music and dance performances as well as authentic cuisine, at the Chinese Student Scholars Association’s (CSSA) first Chinese New Year celebration, which took place Friday at the Fairlane Center North.
Emily Wang, the CSSA advisor and faculty member of the Office of International Affairs, opened the event with a little background on the Chinese zodiac. “The dragon is passionate and independent,” Wang said, “It is also ambitious and brave.” Chinese zodiac signs are determined by one’s birth year. The year then corresponds to one of twelve animals in the cycle, each animal having its own set of characteristics.
“Chinese New Year is the most significant festival in China,” said CSSA President Qingzhen Yang. “It is a time for family reunion and delicious food!”
Traditional New Year’s dishes like meat dumplings, noodles, and mixed vegetables were served, among many others, both because they are delectable favorites but also because they are significant to the celebration. The dumplings, shaped like ancient Chinese money, symbolize wealth and togetherness while the noodles represent long life and the mixed vegetables signify harmony of the family.
With everyone gathered around tables, eating together, and cheering on the many performers, an onlooker would see the room filled with people as a big family gathering.
“It’s great to see such a sense of both community and diversity here on campus,” remarked Vice Chancellor Stanley Henderson in his welcoming speech.
For many, the celebration was also an ideal way to explore another culture, by submersing yourself in the atmosphere, the sounds, and the tastes. Yang said, “The interaction between the students and a different cultural background is a good thing. That is why we hosted this celebration.”
Whether you’re full swing into your resolutions for the year or still staring at the list of to-dos, may this year of the dragon grant you all the ambition, strength and passion you need.