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University hosts seventh annual Lunar New Year Celebration

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Guests adorned in red led into the Student Center Jan. 27 to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

2017 is the Year of the Rooster in Chinese culture. The traditional celebration of the New Year consists of dinner with family and cultural activities such as those seen at DePaul’s gala. Red is believed to be the color most conducive to success, so a red envelope is given to family members in hope of bringing a year of luck and prosperity to them.

At DePaul’s ninth celebration of the annual Chinese New Year Gala, there were both old and new faces to be seen among the crowd. Hosted by the DePaul Chinese Studies Program, the gala included a buffet dinner of traditional Chinese cuisine, remarks from Dr. Gian Mario Bersana and Dr. Ji Lin, cultural performances from many members of the Chinese community of Chicago and commentary from students of DePaul’s own Chinese studies program.

Dr. Gian Mario Bersana, DePaul’s Associate Provost for Global Engagement, and Dr. Ji Lin, Director of DePaul’s Chinese Studies Program, gave welcoming remarks not only regarding the New Year, but emphasizing the importance of DePaul possessing a spirit of global community in light of our current political and social situation.

“Intercultural engagement is a strong value for us,” said Dr. Bersana said.

Following Dr. Bersana’s speech was the Lion Dance, a traditional form of dance in Chinese culture mainly performed during the New Year. Dancers dressed in brightly colored lion costumes attempted to mimic a lion through exaggerated and intense movements.

A group of DePaul students followed, making their way on stage to perform rap songs in Mandarin, bringing a modern flare to the traditionalism of the Gala.

Em Krause, a student in Professor Litan Rath’s Chinese 102 class, gave her thoughts on her first attendance of DePaul’s Chinese New Year celebration.

“I know that it’s a big deal in China, but I never necessarily experienced a celebration for the Chinese New Year before,” said Krause.

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Dancers perform Jan. 27 at DePaul’s ninth annual Chinese New Year gala. (Photo by Lydia Connolly / The DePaulia)

Krause said she enjoyed the celebration and stated her love and gratitude for the beautiful celebration the DePaul Chinese Studies Program throws.

“It’s very colorful and artistic,” Krause said, “And I appreciate that”.

Another student in Rath’s Chinese 105 class returned for her second year to the celebration as a performer. Pu’uwaialoha Medina, a sophomore at DePaul, said the celebration aids her socially and academically as a beginning Chinese scholar.

“It’s definitely helpful because there is a lot of actual native speakers speaking throughout the event, and it’s really good to hear that,” Medina said.

After performances from DePaul students came cultural performances from different Chinese cultural groups throughout the greater Chicago area, including a dance by the Illinois Institute of Technology Chinese Students and Scholars Association Dance Group performed a dance named Spring Flowers, fitting for DePaul’s celebration of the Spring Festival.

Closing remarks were made by Dr. Ji Lin, who expressed her happiness for the success of the Gala, and reiterated Dr. Bersana’s remarks on the importance of an intercultural exchange and a welcoming community of students.

“In order for the students to truly grow,” Lin said, “they need to experience firsthand a wide variety of Chinese culture from around the world.”

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University hosts seventh annual Lunar New Year Celebration