Chinese students to celebrate New Year

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

The Chinese Student and Scholar Association will celebrate traditions of Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Christian Campus House.

Haizhou Li, a sustainable energy and technology management graduate student from Wenzhou, China, said the holiday is very traditional. He said the New Year brings families together to eat dinner and watch the New Year’s Gala.

Li said the Gala can be compared to the celebration of New Year’s Eve in New York City or to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He said almost everyone in China watches the Gala and has watched it since they were born.

There are fireworks and people make a variety of food, Sihan Chen, a computer technology graduate student from Ganzhou, China, said.

The upcoming year is the Year of the Rooster, the tenth of 12 animals in the cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Each year has its own set of lucky numbers, colors, days, flowers and so on. Every year an animal has its own characteristics similar to an astrological sign.

Li said many Asian countries other than China celebrate Chinese New Year, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea and the city-state of Singapore.

The students and some teachers will prepare different traditional pork, beef and fish dishes, and QQ Buffet will offer the fried rice for the CSSA’s celebration Saturday.

Chinese stew, spicy crawfish, seafood porridge and various steamed foods are going to be dishes the students make and eat, junior journalism major Qian Cheng said.

The Christian Campus House will be decorated in the lucky colors gold and red, Chen said. Karaoke and games will take place, along with people performing traditional Chinese music, she said.

Cheng said a traditional type of art is painting with sugar and spoons, so the CSSA will incorporate that in their celebration.

On the night before Chinese New Year, parents traditionally give their children red envelopes of “lucky money,” Chen said. The envelope is red because it is a lucky color, she said, and the gift is a sign of good fortune.

Last year, the CSSA had the same type of celebration for Chinese New Year in the Christian Campus House, Cheng said. Before then, the Cultural Center would host a gathering and around 20 to 30 students would go to celebrate, he said.

People celebrating Chinese New Year either make or buy paper lanterns to decorate with, and there is even a Festival of Lanterns that falls on Feb. 11 this year, Li said. He said families will go to a park together and there are lanterns of different colors everywhere.

Although the students are in the United States, they plan to make the most out of their Chinese New Year at Eastern.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].