Today: May 29, 2024

Chinese New Year celebrated at Southern

Simone Virzi, Staff Writer-

Red and gold decorations and subtle Asian music set a festive tone in the room as students sampled Chinese food using chopsticks, made bracelets and had an artist paint calligraphy on paper fans.

Although the Chinese New Year took place on Feb. 3, Southern students were given the opportunity to learn about the Chinese culture at the Chinese New Year Celebration, said June Cheng, an educational librarian who helped plan the event.

The classroom was decorated with paper lanterns, Chinese banners and chocolate gold coins were on the tables. 

A student was also dressed up as a panda bear to add to the ambiance. Senior Mike Roche, the president of the Asian Cultural Society, said he liked the atmosphere the decorations and music created in the room.

“It makes you feel like you’re in a different place,” said Roche.

Celebrating the year of the rabbit with Chinese food attracted many students in Engleman Hall, including senior Jeanie Wright, an English major.

“I loved the fact that you could smell the Chinese food in the hallway,” said Wright.

Students had the option to use Chinese chopsticks, which had thorough instructions on the package explaining how to use the eating utensils, said senior Tim Augeri, a member of the Asian Cultural Society.

“It teaches you a new skill,” said Augeri. “It exposes you to another aspect of culture.”

Since China is significantly different from Western culture, Roche said the event was a way for students to learn something new.

“It’s a free meal,” said Roche. “[The event] helps raise awareness of Chinese culture.”

Students sampled Chinese favorites including vegetable lo mein, beef with broccoli, egg rolls, general tso’s chicken and pork fried rice. More traditional Chinese dishes were served as well. The food was purchased from Szechuan Delight in Hamden.

Crafts were planned at the event as a way to show students additional aspects of the Chinese culture, said Cheng.

“We tried to arrange some tables to introduce culture-oriented handcrafts, rather than just have Chinese food and leave,” she said.

Students were able to pick out a white, red, brown, or green fan and have a volunteer decorate it with calligraphy. Since she could not find the proper ink for calligraphy writing, Cheng said they made the ink themselves at the event.

At the jewelry-making table, students could make bracelets using different colored beads, including red, black, white, and green.

The beads tied in to the Chinese culture because “the beads had Chinese characters,” said Cheng.

As a favor for going to the event, students were given red packages, which contained replica Chinese money and chocolate.

Origami figure-making was also a part of the event, said Cheng.

Papers that included brief descriptions of all 12 Chinese zodiac signs were handed out. For instance, a person born in the year of the rabbit is said to “enjoy being surrounded by family and friends. They’re popular, compassionate, sincere and they like to avoid conflict and are sometimes seen as pushovers. Rabbits enjoy home and entertaining at home.”

Students at Southern have been celebrating the Chinese New Year for approximately five years, said Cheng.

The Chinese New Year Celebration was sponsored by the Asian Cultural Society and the Chinese Student Association. 

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