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Students mark year of dragon with Rec celebration

By Jordan Wright
On February 8, 2012


A&M-Commerce students and faculty, as well as local Commerce residents, paid a visit to the Morris Recreation Center on Feb. 7 to celebrate Chinese New Year. Attendees marked the year of the dragon with a night of traditional Chinese games, music and cuisine, sponsored by the Morris Recreation Center and the Chinese Student Association.

Once inside, the guests were welcomed to Chinese music played through the loud speakers and décor on the walls of the Gymnasium. Tables set up around the area featured many attractions for the attendees such as traditional Chinese games like Mahjong and Go. Other attractions provided partygoers with the opportunity to play with a Chinese yo-yo, as well as have their name written in Chinese.

As they entered, each attendee was given a red envelope as they entered the gymnasium. The envelope is a symbol of good luck and is believed to ward off evil spirits. Contained within the envelope was a gold coin with the image of a Chinese dragon and a raffle ticket. Three raffles were held during the celebration, offering an IPod Shuffle, the "Transformers" Double Pack on Blu-ray, and a PlayStation 3.

The event also provided food and drinks for its attendees. The celebration offered a selection of Chinese food, such as fried rice, orange chicken, beef and broccoli, and egg rolls.

The traditional dragon dance began at around 8 p.m. The dancers were accompanied by live music and performed various dances and martial arts, culminating in the arrival of the Chinese dragon, which made its way around the Gymnasium. The dragon proceeded to interact with those that crossed its path in various ways, from chasing children to mimicking movements of people.

The celebration brought in attendees of all sorts. In addition to the students of A&M-Commerce, there were several families along with children who attended as well.

"A lot of parents bring their kids out to this and it's great to have that interaction with everyone," Event coordinator Sarah Cunningham said. "It's always great to see everyone learn something new."

Cunningham said that there were at least 1000 people in attendance, a significant increase from last year. The increase has been noticed by some attendees of previous years.

"This was fun last year and it's even more fun this year," Stan Goodman said. "We come here every year and it's more crowded this year."

Several of the activities, particularly the raffles, were well received by the guests in addition to the rest of the celebration.

"It's been fun, with very good food," Ujwal Tamrakar said. "I would say the prizes and the dragon were best."

As the attendees began to take their leave, Cunningham expressed her gratitude to everyone in attendance for making the night a success.

"I'd like to thank everyone who came out tonight and I hope that they all had a good time," Cunningham said. "This I was very excited to see such high a high attendance."

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