Year of the horse
Students experience Asian culture in Lunar New Year celebration
Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014 00:01
Students, volunteers and residents of the Bryan-College Station community meandered around a feast of Chinese food, various tables showcasing traditional New Year activities and gazed upon the Kung Fu, Tai Chi and lion dance performances set up in and around Sbisa Dining Hall
“Tonight is just another example of how much we value our cultural diversity and unique customs and traditions of the many cultures that are represented in our student body here at Texas A&M,” said Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez, commandant of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, in a welcoming announcement before a performance at the eight-annual Lunar New Year Celebration, hosted by the Confucius Institute.
For some students, the celebration was a representation of something they would have regularly celebrated at home. Tiffany Tai, freshman political science major, said she appreciated being able to see her culture represented.
“It’s really similar to this,” Tai said. “We would go out to eat, we would go to the temple, we would spend time with family.”
Midway through the celebration, students and other onlookers transitioned outdoors to watch the Shaolin Kung Fu Academy perform traditional Kung Fu and Lion dances.
Tai said the dances are a traditional part of a typical celebration consisting of people dressed up in costumes of lucky dragons and lions.
“It’s a really artistic dance and it’s just a great way to ring in the new year,” Tai said.
Ying Zheng, a volunteer at the event and veterinary medical technician, said it was the year of the horse, which represented economic prosperity.
Wilson Ding, freshman electrical engineering major, said he and his family would celebrate the holiday as he grew up in a Chinese household. He said his family would exchange red envelopes, a common tradition where family members slide money into envelopes to often give to the younger family members.
“I just had that growing up,” Ding said. “Coming to college — this is my first year, and this is my first year being away from my parents, unable to celebrate this holiday, so I decided to come here instead. So it’s just a continuation of my every-year tradition.”
Ding said because A&M has such a large and diverse student body, it was important to become more aware of traditions and cultures on campus.
“I feel like this is a really good step towardsthat,” Ding said. “And it brings some things to do on campus so it’s pretty nice.”
Shuyang Wu, junior economics major and Chinese international student, said her favorite part about the New Year was seeing family members gather together and compared it to Christmas in western countries. Wu was sad she would not be able to share the holiday with her family in China, she said.
Wu was assisting at the calligraphy table, which she said was another common activity her family would do in China. She said by posting certain symbols of calligraphy on the wall, they expressed hope for the new year and brought luck to their house.
“‘Fu,’ it means ‘luck’ in China, and we put it upside down and then paste it on the wall,” Zheng said. “So every year, we buy it in the market or make it ourself.”
As an international student, Wu said it was meaningful to her to have this event on campus.
“I’m representative of China and everyone is interested in Chinese culture, so I’m really proud to tell them about my culture,” Wu said.