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The Charger Bulletin

Chinese New Year in the Limelight

Patricia Oprea

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In the United States, the New Year is always celebrated on Jan. 1, but this is not the case in all countries, like those of the East.

In China, this year began Feb. 8, and marks the start of the year 4714. Chinese New Year is a fifteen-day celebration, changing yearly based on the lunar calendar.

On Saturday Feb. 12, in Dodd’s Theater, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and guests gathered to celebrate the New Year with a Chinese Spring Festival Gala. “This is the equivalent of July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Dr. Henry Lee, a day with fireworks, family, and presents. This event is about two decades years in the running, and always enchanting. Seats were filled with Chinese students and many other international students, as well as faculty and members of the community.

The show commenced with a video introduction by various people including President Kaplan, Chinese international students, members of the UNH community, students around campus, and people who sponsored the show.  A countdown in Chinese followed suit, from ten to one, and then fireworks flashed on screen. Dr. Henry Lee also gave a short talk about this event he holds dear to his heart and own culture.

Performances ranged from modern music– singers and pianists, to comedy skits, dances with fans, and modern dances as well. The hobbies and talents of the Chinese students were awing. The festival was quite student-driven, compared to other years when people outside UNH performed too. Five raffles were also held, prizes ranging from suitcases to televisions.

However, according to many of the international students, performances were a little weak this year. Past years included elaborate costuming, dragons, martial arts, swords, flags, and even a large catered Chinese food buffet at the end.

Also, the entire show was performed in Chinese. This was great to experience, but the non-Chinese speakers, about 25% of the crowd, international students, and Americans, felt a bit out of the loop. The event programs were written in Chinese characters as well. Perhaps in following years, there can be English translations or references.

In either case, being immersed in this language and culture for two hours was a unique experience!

The next opportunity to be immersed in culture on the UNH campus is The International Festival.

This features booths with pictures, decorations, souvenirs, and food from about twelve countries, as well as music and dance performances. It is being held in the Charger Gymnasium at 3 p.m. on April 9.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Chinese New Year in the Limelight