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SMC celebrates Chinese New Year

| Friday, February 20, 2015

This Saturday, Saint Mary’s will celebrate the Chinese New Year in O’Laughlin Auditorium from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

China Night, is hosted by the Chinese Cultural Club and the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL). Yaqi Song, the president of the Chinese Cultural Club, is the director of the event.

The event is open to all students at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame as well as the general public, said Alice Siqin Yang, CWIL’s assistant director for global education.

“It is important to provide this opportunity of learning and understanding of Chinese culture throughout the South Bend community,” Yang said.

At the event, members of the community, including students from Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend and Chinese exchange students at Saint Mary’s College will perform traditional Chinese music and dancing, Yang said. Students and faculty who have studied abroad in China, as well as Chinese Fulbright students, will talk about the festival and their experiences with Chinese culture.

Yang said the Chinese New Year, a time for families to reunite and share in their cultural traditions, is one of the most important festivals in the Chinese-speaking world.

“The Chinese celebrate the transition to spring over the span of 15 days, which was based on the importance of the agricultural society … and now is an opportunity to look forward to a new year,” she said.

Yang said each year is assigned a zodiac animal, which characterizes the year and those born within it. This year is the year of the sheep or the goat.

The event will be reflective of a Chinese celebration that will not only expose the South Bend community to Chinese culture, but also allow Chinese guests to feel closer to home, Yang said. She said the gala-like event is similar to Chinese events that share stories of culture and tradition.

Yang said Saint Mary’s has hosted a Chinese New Year event each year since 2008. The events provide an opportunity for Chinese members of the community to connect with their traditions and allow Americans to learn about Chinese culture, she said.

“Even if people have different values, recognize that all people have their own way of living, and it is important to be able to respect these traditions of other cultures,” Yang said. “… It is nice to celebrate these joyous moments and add warmth to our lives during this cold winter.”

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