Southern students exposed to Chinese culture


Jessica GuerrucciReporter

The annual lunar new year celebration brought students together to experience Chinese culture as they learned about the Year of the Pig.

The Chinese Student Association and the Multicultural Center held their annual Chinese New Year celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 6. students came and enjoyed the event which included food and dancing.

Paula Dobles, the president of the Chinese Student Association said it was a good way to expose students to the culture.

“We are trying to bring a bit of Chinese culture here since we do have a fairly large population of Chinese descent and Chinese nationality in New Haven,” said Dobles. “So, we just wanted to bring some of that culture here for those people and those interested in Chinese culture.”

Dobles said there would be traditional Chinese dancers, calligraphy, and a traditional Chinese medicine doctor who would be taking students pulses. She said they also would be giving out red envelopes with candy in them.

Though many students who attended the celebration said they were unfamiliar with the Chinese New Year, they still appreciated the festivities. Doralis Ceballos, a biology major, said she came for the free food, but was interested to find out more about the holiday.

“It’s great because it’s different cultures and stuff so that’s kind of cool, like they’re doing pulse reading. It’s cool that we get to experience something new at Southern,” said Ceballos.

David Betters, an Interdisciplinary Studies major, who is part of the association, said he had been to the event in the past. He said there were more students there than in previous years, as it is their biggest event for the association.

“I think it’s pretty great,” said Betters. “I’ve been coming here and volunteering for the past two years. I think every year it gets bigger and better, so I’m glad to see the turn out.”

Betters, who has studied Chinese for two years, said that having the Chinese medicine doctor and the calligraphy added to the event in the sense that it made it seem more like a traditional Chinese New Year celebration.

Molly Deegen, an interdisciplinary studies major, said she was also impressed by the turnout, as the line of students waiting for food was out the door. Deegen, who is familiar with the Chinese New Year even though she does not celebrate it, said a lot of students have no idea what it is and that the event was a good way to bring awareness.

“I think it’s a good way in terms of telling people what it is in a sense, like getting people exposed to Chinese culture and things like that,” said Deegen.

Dobles agreed with Deegen and said that many students know very little about the Chinese New Year, despite it becoming more relevant in recent years.

“A lot of people know something, whether they know their Chinese zodiac, or they know it’s [the] Lunar New Year, but it is something that is very culturally relevant in not just China, but a lot of other east Asian cultures,” said Dobles.

Heather Hayhurst, who is the vice president of the Chinese Student Association, said the club wants to bring awareness and continue to bring more people out to experience different cultures.

“I feel the event went really good,” said Hayhurst. “It was a really good turn out, and the dancing is awesome. Just like everyone being aware of everything, it seems like people are more interested now in other people’s cultures.”

Photo Credit: William Aliou

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