Chinese New Year, also refered to as the Spring Festival and the Lunar New Year, is celebrated by millions across the globe. It is held as the most significant holiday in China.
The New Year is a time for people to take time off of work and visit the members of their extended families. It’s a time when families come together and simply spend time together.
In an attempt to recreate these traditions, the Chinese Culture Club and the Crossroads program teamed up to plan and organize a Chinese New Year’s. This is the Chinese Culture Club’s first big event of the year, here on campus.
“It was a blast,” Junior Co-president of the Chinese Culture Club Yiyi Chen said. “In China, this time allows for families who live far apart to come together; such as those who have moved to the city or vice versa. Despite being celebrated in many places the focus is always the same: family and family-togetherness.”
However, for international students at Gustavus, this is a holiday that they don’t get to celebrate with their families due to classes scheduled on that date. However, each year Chinese Culture Club, along with Crossroads, organizes a celebration of the Chinese New Year.
“We helped provide a home-like environment for the new Chinese students. It lets them meet both international students and American students to connect,” Chen said.
“The event definitely helped me,” Haiyun Liang said. She is one of the international students from Guangzhou, China, studying thousands of miles from home.
“The event made me feel more at home by taking part in paper-cutting [one of the activities at the event]and eating some of the traditional food. There was a lot of talking amongst people, just like how my family interacts during the celebration,” Liang said.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect. Preparing the food and cooking together gave myself and others of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to talk about our respective families while we prepared the food,” Chinese Language and Literature Professor Shannon Cannella said.
This typical Chinese New Year celebration involved cooking and eating a meal and taking part in activities, all with the purpose of bringing people together. This year the Chinese Culture Club decided to cook a dumpling dish, with 400 individual dumplings, for the 40 or so in attendance. The main activities were ping-pong, poker, karaoke, and making shapes out of paper, similar to cutting a folded up piece of paper to make a snowflake.