Chinese club’s celebration rings in the Year of the Rabbit

The Peking Opera Master performs stick tricks (left), and traditionally clad individuals take part in the Chinese New Year celebration. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

By Jennifer Bruckstein
Correspondent

When some people think about Chinese New Year, the first thing that comes to mind is the lion and dragon dances in Chinatown depicted on TV.

The lion and dragon dances are traditional dances that have been a part of the Chinese New Year celebration for a very long time, where participants dance around either underneath a lion head, or several performers hold poles that have the dragon head and body attached.

This celebration was held in honor of one of the biggest holidays in the Chinese culture and intended to teach students more about the holiday.

In planning their event, which took place in the Brower Student Center on Wednesday, Feb. 9, the Chinese Culture Club wanted to emphasize the more traditional aspects of the Chinese New Year.

The club worked closely with the Asian American Association and the School of Culture and Society to organize the function, while Chinese language professors Mi and Liu also played a crucial role in the celebration’s preparation.

According to Liu, “When the students were going to do the lion and dragon dance they were nervous because they saw the dances on TV in Chinatown and thought that it would be hard to learn and that they wouldn’t be able to do it,” she said. “But once they learned the dances they got really into it and were excited to be a part of it.”

Besides dancing, entertainment of the night included the Peking Opera Master. This performer had a white painted face and wore a bright yellow costume with dark shiny lines that created a sort of maze-like design. He was funny and entertaining while pretending to eat oranges as well as while doing tricks with a stick and other props. He also did acrobatics, such as cartwheels and flips.

The festivity was filled with tons of activities and events that spanned throughout the course of the whole night.

The evening was divided into two portions: a cultural workshop segment, which consisted of paper cutting, Chinese painting demonstrations and making calligraphy fans; and an entertainment portion. The entertainment consisted of many acts, starting with the lion dance (which is performed to bring good luck to the new year) and concluding with the Peking Opera Master’s tricks.

There were also more serious acts throughout the night such as talented Chinese musicians who played the culture’s traditional instruments.

The celebration provided many activities and forms of entertainment, but what would a Chinese New Year party be without some authentic Chinese food?

The food was ordered from Chinatown in Philadelphia and served buffet-style. The various dishes ranged from noodles to fried rice, dumplings (which are shaped like gold pieces and are supposed to give people wealth for the New Year) to bak choy, white rice and, of course, bubble tea.