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RC Celebrates Chinese New Year

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In an effort to give students a flavor of another culture, Roanoke College students and faculty celebrated the Chinese New Year on Thur., Feb. 17 in the Wortmann Ballroom. The celebration lasted for about two hours, and included traditional Chinese food, songs performed by students in the Chinese and Japanese classes, trivia, a raffle, and a performance of traditional Chinese martial arts. This is the third year for the celebration at RC, which premiered on campus in 2008. 

The Chinese New Year is celebrated every year in China and around the world.  Since China also goes by the lunar calendar, the time of the New Year changes. It lasts from the first of the year to the fifteenth.  In addition, each New Year is symbolized by a particular animal. Last year was marked the year of the Tiger, and the celebration just ushered in the year of the Rabbit. All the festivities were sponsored by the Asian Studies Program, led by history professor, Stella Xu, and by the RC Office of Multicultural Affairs. The celebration has grown over the years.

            “I am so glad that this event has already become a popular event for faculty, students, and friends from the local community. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy cultural diversity, faculty-student mingling, and student performances out of their academic achievement,” Xu said.

The food for the celebration was catered by Red Palace, with Chinese food, and Wonju Restaurant with Korean food. Another atmospheric element was the traditional Chinese music playing in the background and chopsticks for people to use to eat the food. The audience was greeted with the traditional saying for the Chinese New Year: gongxi gongxi.

Entertainment was also offered at the event to show off the Chinese and Japanese language programs. First, Chinese 102 students sang a song in Mandarin that rang in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 called “Beijing Welcomes You.”  Then, the Chinese 202 students sang a popular Chinese pop-song called “Dui Men De Nu Hai,” with an acoustic element. Finally, the Japanese class sang a selection of two songs from two popular movies.

Rounding out the evening was a performance by Shaolin Martial Art Group that demonstrated their forms for the audience. The group even brought in a traditional Chinese dragon led by two men.

Overall, the food and events were well received by the students and faculty.

“It is an amazing event. I enjoyed the lion dance and martial arts performances as much as I enjoyed the singing by the students. Lots of people came out and the food was plentiful and delicious,” said Wai Paing ’12, who also performed with the Chinese 202 class.