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Students participate in Lunar New Year Celebration

| Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Students of the Chinese program received the opportunity to learn more about the Chinese culture outside of class during this year’s annual Celebration of the Lunar New Year. This Lunar New Year, which begins Thursday, will mark the start of the Year of the Sheep.

The event featured various traditional and modern Chinese songs, a fan dance and a lion dance. Performers comprised entirely of students in the various levels of the Chinese language courses.

Assistant professional specialist Wei Wang spearheaded the event, with help from the Chinese program faculty, including Chengxu Yin, Congcong Ma, Shiyi Lu, Weibing Ye, Xi Zhang, Yongping Zhu, Yuming Liu and Zijun Wang.

Zhu said Hibachi Grill Buffet catered the Chinese food, and the Oriental Market provided the snacks. The event was sponsored by Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, College of Arts & Letters’ Office for Undergraduate Studies, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures.

Students currently taking a Chinese language course were asked to attend the event. International students and a Chinese program alumnus, Philip Hootsmans, also attended the celebration.

“It was great to see my Chinese professors and classmates in an informal setting, celebrating, having fun and getting to know each other outside the classroom,” junior Emily Bedell said.

Sophomore Kelia Li performed a fan dance with freshman classmate Sophie Spartz. The Chinese Culture Society provided the two set traditional Chinese attire, qi paos, and the pair of fans used for the dance, Li said.

“Since a lot of us aren’t home with family, having people who learn Chinese and speak Chinese really adds to my idea of a Notre Dame family,” Li said. “The idea of family is in the spirit of Chinese New Year, and I was glad to be able to celebrate that.

Sophomore Shinaola Atoro and junior Neil Xue performed the traditional lion dance. Atoro and Xue danced in their two-man lion costume, weaved around tables and interacted with the audience. According to the Chinese culture, the dance frightens of evil spirits and brings good luck.

Freshmen Dennis Zheng and Abigail Awodele sang a duet at the end of the event. The chorus comprised of Elementary Chinese and first-year Chinese students performed a song wishing everyone a happy Chinese new year.

“Since we’re in a western society, we, as Asian Americans, tend to lose connection with our culture,” Zheng said. “This celebration of the holiday brings us back in touch with our culture and roots. ”

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About Wei Lin

Wei Lin currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. He served as the Photo Editor on the 2014-2015 Editorial Board. He is a senior Accountancy, Economics, and Chinese triple major living in Knott Hall. He hails from the borough of Queens in New York City.

Contact Wei