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Music, tradition ring in Chinese New Year

  • Students perform in the opening dance at the Chinese Lunar New Year Gala on Friday, Feb. 28 in Albert Taylor Hall. (Kathryn Martin)
  • Students perform a song at the Chinese Lunar New Year Gala in Albert Taylor Hall. (Kathryn Martin)
  • Liu Li, graduate music education student (left), and Yi Guo, graduate music education student (right), perform in the third act of the Chinese Lunar New Year Gala. (Kathryn Martin)

The Chinese Student and Scholars Association of Emporia State celebrated the Lunar New Year a little late this year with a Gala on Friday, Feb. 28 in Albert Taylor Hall.

The Chinese New Year fell on Jan. 31. Shan Zhong, junior accounting major and president of CSSA, said the celebration really began Feb. 2 for Chinese students.

“This (event was) pushed back one month because there is a lot of events (at ESU),” Zhong said.

This celebration is an ancient one, deeply rooted in Chinese history and culture.

“There is a monster called ‘nyan,’ which means ‘year’ in China,” Zhong said. “Every year at this time, the monster will come to the village and they think that they have to get everybody together to defend (against) this monster.”

The Gala consisted of nine performances by Chinese ESU students, a Chinese church from Wichita and members of both Sigma Phi Theta and Phi Delta Theta fraternities. The acts were varied, ranging from songs on traditional stringed instruments, to modern Chinese love songs to a presentation on calligraphy. The group of fraternity members was featured in an original dance.

“I liked the traditional instrument and the dance by Phi Delta Theta,” said Linzi Hu, senior psychology major.

One of the musicians, Liu Li, graduate music education student, talked about the zither, played by her friend Yi Guo, graduate music education student.

“It has a long history,” Li said. “In China it’s a very noble instrument.”

The Lunar New year is an important holiday for the Chinese, and is one of the few times that families in China can get together.

“Today in China, most people travel to the big city for work…but during this festival, everyone can go home,” Zhong said. “This the only seven-day holiday they can celebrate with family, so it’s important for everybody.”

The event lasted about an hour and a half, and filled most of Albert Taylor Hall.

Erin Fuchs, junior business administration major, said she liked the calligraphy presentation.

“It was actually really cool to see the different culture… I think if American students came, it would help them see a little bit into different cultures,” Fuchs said.

As the celebration wound down, the two hostesses interjected upbeat blessings between acts.

“A new year – always may peace and love fill your heart, beauty fill your world, and joy fill your days,” said Jiapeng Huang, junior accounting major.

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