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Twice-postponed Chinese New Year celebration is big success

By Jay Cheatham
On February 16, 2011

Despite the Chinese New Year celebration being postponed twice because of the winter weather that hit North Texas, a large number of students showed up to the event when was finally held on Feb. 15. Chinese New Year, hosted in the Morris Recreation Center, featured traditional Chinese dancing, games, crafts and food.

Chinese Students Association (CSA) President Chin Vu Hsu watched over volunteers painting Chinese characters on hand fans.

"I know in our school we have many Chinese students, but not everybody knows about the Chinese New Year or where it comes from," Hsu said. "We prefer to celebrate and enjoy it."

In China, it is known as the "Spring Festival" because it marks the end of the winter season and begins on the first day of the Chinese calendar's first month. The two-week celebration is the longest and most popular holiday in China, and has elements similar to the American holiday season.

"New year time is a time of celebration, sort of renewing yourself," performer Patty Sun said. "We always do the Lion dance to bring in good luck and get rid of any bad luck from the previous year. You can kind of start over if you mess up the previous year and hope for good luck and better fortune for the new year. It's similar to the New Year we have here with people making resolutions and things like that, but we don't really have resolutions. Its like our biggest holiday; like Christmas."

Sun and the other performers entertained the crowd of students, staff and locals with tai chi and the Lion dance.

"One of the most common mistakes people make is they think we are doing the dragon dance, because the dragon is a symbol of China and is like the emperor and represents power," she said. "But actually the lion is more new year's timely; the lion represents good luck. So you will actually see the lion more often than the dragon, and I noticed it's the mascot here; so it fits."

The event featured photo opportunities with traditional Chinese items and clothing, as well as Chinese food.

"There could have been more stuff, but I liked it," freshman Alex Thornton said. "The food was really good, I had some orange chicken and a shrimp dish. I liked the decorations, I feel like they really did a good job on those. For something they had to postpone for two weeks, I think they pulled it off without a hitch."

Hsu said there was a purpose for some of the decorations.

"We write on the red paper and put it up on the wall, and that celebrates the meaning of words like happiness or money," Hsu said. "When we write them and turn it upside down it means that money or happiness is coming."

There was also a raffle at the event, with prizes ranging from Chinese New Year shirts to an iPod shuffle. The winner of the iPod, graduate chemistry student Kiran Nallea, was surprised at his free gift.

"Actually, I was thinking about going home, saying to my friends ‘Lets go,' but we stayed until the iPod and I won it," Nallea said.

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