CSA Hosts its First Chinese New Year Festival at DVC

Concord Kung Fu Academy members perform the traditional Chinese lion dance for the Chinese New Year celebration outside the Margaret Lescher Student Union Building to a delighted audience.

Mona Taleb-Agha

To bring in the Year of the Snake, DVC’s Chinese Student Association hosted its first annual Chinese New Year Festival – also called the Spring Festival or “Chun Jie” in Mandarin – in front of the Margaret Lesher Student Union on Tuesday, Feb. 26. This festival is traditionally 15 days long, where then the Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day. The new year actually began on Feb. 10.

While the festival on campus only lasted for about four hours, it had many entertaining activities and games. One game, which is called “Cai Deng Mi” included two long ribbons that hung Chinese riddles printed onto small pieces of paper. If you believed you could answer two in a row, you would rip off the riddle and bring it to the desk in exchange for a raffle ticket.

“Riddles are a very important part of Chinese culture where friends and family can have fun with each other. Every Chinese Festival includes a riddle game like this one,” said Shutian Zheng, who was co-ordinating the riddle game.

Other games included a ring toss called “Tao Quan,” and “Kuai Zi Dan Zhu” which is time-constrained game where you try to pick up as many beans as possible with chopsticks. All games were free and were awarded with raffle tickets upon completion. There were other activities where you were able to paint your own sign, called a “Dui Lian”, in order to bring good luck, as well as a rack of Chinese costumes that you could try on and get a picture taken.

The program also included a dragon and lion costume dance, as well as as two martial arts dances called “Duan Gun” and “Da Dao.” There were also musical performances which included a flute performance called “Butterfly Love” which was performed by a CSA member named Crystal, and a wooden flute performance done by the president of the club, Miaoquan Huang.

The program also included a few traditional Chinese dances, the first of which was a dance performed with Chinese silk fans, which are meant to represent beauty, grace, and skill. While this dance is usually performed on a circular stage, the dancers made do with the small open space in front of the Student Union building. Afterwards, a different dance was performed in red and gold costume that included a headpiece with a veil, a traditional dress worn in the Xinjiang province in China where the veils are usually lifted only to show the face to loved ones. One of these dancers was DVC’s Math Lab Coordinator, Liling Lin.

The most popular performance was a dance by a woman named Yvonne,
this time featuring the Chinese yo-yo.
The Chinese yo-yo is one of the oldest toys known to mankind, second only to the doll, and was invented during the Ming Dynasty sometime between 1386-1644. The yo-yo, comprised of two discs of equal size connected by a long axle, is juggled by using two sticks which are conjoined with a string. Yvonne performed a highly skilled dance which included throwing the yo-yo high up in the air and catching it, and she kept it spinning during almost the entire performance. Her performance concluded the dance performances in the program.

“The Chinese New Year Festival is the most widely celebrated holiday in China. It has been celebrated for thousands of years, and each year belongs to one of twelve animals. It is customary to wear red during the festival, because red symbolizes happiness and good luck in China. We also use the color gold because it is a sign of nobility,” explained CSA Activity Coordinator, Zhuoer Wang.

While this is the first Chinese New Year celebration hosted by CSA, they plan to make this event at DVC an annual tradition.

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