For Americans and many other people across the world, the excitement of the new year has faded. Halfway across the globe, in China, the New Year’s festivities have just begun.
For the third year in a row, the Chinese Student Association will put on a Lunar New Year’s celebration. The event will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. Tickets will cost $3 with student ID or $5 for general admission.
The Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Jan. 23, is one of the largest celebrations in Chinese culture. It is based around the Chinese zodiac, a 12-year cycle in which each year is represented by an important animal in Chinese culture. This year is the year of the dragon. The New Year’s festivities throughout China and other Asian countries with large Chinese populations usually go on for 15 days.
Zhuang Zhao, who does publicity for the CSA, said celebrations in China typically start during midday and run through the entire night.
“That performance goes all throughout China,” Zhao said. “We’re trying to do something similar to that.”
Three emcees will conduct the entire Lunar New Year’s event.
A wide variety of both student and community performances will take place. There will be a Kung Fu dance, Tai Chi performances, a drum dance, river dance, vendors and a musician playing a guzheng, a traditional Chinese large, stringed instrument.
“There are a lot of student performances, so if one of your friends is performing that will be fun to see,” Zhao said. “Mostly, the performances have something to do with Chinese culture, so you’ll be seeing performances that you won’t see at other festivals.”
A popular past staple of the CSA’s Lunar New Year’s event has been the food. The CSA works with outside vendors and with University Dining Services to provide Chinese-American cuisine such as chow mein and sesame chicken.
“The first year, the food was free and it was from outside vendors and they had this wide variety,” said Robel Paguio, Associated Students Ethnic Student Center public relations coordinator. “People came the next year expecting all the food, so they had almost twice the turnout for the second year. I know there was a big line, and I barely got in.”
This will be the first year the CSA will charge admission for the event. All the proceeds from ticket sales will go to Orbis International, a nonprofit that helps provide eye care to people in developing countries.
Zhao said Orbis’ mission is relevant and helpful to many Chinese people in Asia. He said when he was a student in China, the common practice was to have students study from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. This leads to a lot of eye problems in China, he said.
“This is basically helping the countries that cannot pay for fixing their eyes,” Zhao said. “Orbis is an organization that will do that voluntarily for people who cannot afford it.”