Colorado College and Air Force Academy students traded roosters for dogs in the biggest Chinese celebration of the year—the Chinese Lunar New Year.
“Chinese New Year is different every year, as it depends upon the lunar calendar. It is a widely celebrated family holiday in China,” said Julia Gledhill ’20, who co-hosted the celebration. “This year, we said goodbye to the year of the rooster and welcomed the year of the dog.”
The Chinese Lunar New Year was Friday, Feb. 16, but since it fell during Block Break, close to 100 students packed the red and brightly decorated space in Bemis Great Hall last Thursday to celebrate. Sponsored by the Chinese Department and Chinese Student Association, students sang, danced, and played music. In addition to 14 different performances, dinner was served for free.
“My favorite part of the event was definitely the variety of performances,” Gledhill said. “It was such a treat to see fellow students perform traditional Chinese ensembles and dances.”
Members of CSA, CC students who are taking Chinese language classes, and CC students who saw the event on fliers attended. Students from the Air Force Academy were also invited.
“We were really glad that a lot of people came to this event,” said Abbie Wang ’20, who helped plan the celebration.
In addition to coordinating the event, Wang also participated in the performances. She and several other students performed a popular Chinese song that they learned in elementary school.
“It was a really great experience to sing the song together,” Wang said. “It was fun to have the Chinese language learners join us, too.”
In the future, Wang would like to involve even more members of the CC community in the celebration. They enjoyed having students from the Air Force Academy attend and would like to invite University of Colorado, Colorado Springs students next year. Wang would also like to invite members of the Colorado Springs community to attend and share their stories with students.
Chinese New Year is traditionally celebrated in many ways, one of which includes filling dumplings with different items. Candy fillings represent a sweet year; coins or money inside symbolize that you will have money, and tofu fillings represent good luck in the year to come. Additionally, children often receive money in red envelopes from their family members. The color red is important because it symbolizes luck. Many of the decorations at the celebration were red, and people often wear red clothing as well.
CSA has meetings every block and aims to put on these larger events a few times each year. They are in the process of planning “Taste of China,” an event where students from different provinces in China can cook a local dish and share it with other students. Wang estimates that they have 50–100 active CSA members right now.
“We are definitely going to have a Chinese New Year celebration again,” Wang said. “At the beginning of next year, we will celebrate the second largest festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, as well.”