Bringing Chinese New Year to UI


Photo courtesy of Bryan Webb

TASC Special Ops rehearses before the team’s performance at Filipino Culture Night on Feb. 7.

By Morgan Cleary

Lin, who serves as the task-culture chair of the Taiwanese American Students Club said the holiday is a time to appreciate the past and celebrate the future. Chinese New Year is a 15-day holiday celebrated by over a billion people across the globe. In accordance with the Chinese zodiac, this year is the year of the monkey.

It is a time for families to reconnect and celebrate the past year as well as the future. He explains that during this 15-day festival, people wear red — a symbol of good luck — and pray for a good harvest, good weather and good fortune in the coming year.

Unfortunately, on college campuses, it becomes difficult for students to maintain these traditions of Chinese New Year when they’re away from their families.

Originally from Taiwan, Yi-Wei Chiu, sophomore in FAA, admits, “I don’t really celebrate Chinese New Year in the U.S. since I am apart (from) my family.”

In an attempt to reconnect students with the traditions of Chinese New Year, the University’s Taiwanese American Student Club is organizing an event to celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year and to bring awareness to students about a major festival in Asian culture.

Eric Chen, the president of the Taiwanese American Student Club and a former Illini Media employee, has organized a Lunar New Year festival that will be taking place in the ARC Multi-Purpose Room 6 on Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. This will be the first day of the 2016 Chinese New Year.

The club plans to divide the ARC’s Multi-Purpose room into two areas, one for a guided, interactive tour and the other for activities and food.

The tour will teach students stories about the history and meaning of the Chinese New Year. Students will learn different ways to celebrate and the tale of the “Nian Dragon,” a story explaining why people wear the color red on Chinese New Year, Chen said.

Stations will be set up with activities such as karaoke, games and a photo booth. According to Chen, there will be music performances by Taiwanese American Student Club’s Special Ops and Korean Drums, in addition to food and an arts and crafts station to make origami and paper lanterns. Because the Chinese New Year is a time for families to come together, share a meal and celebrate, the event will serve a variety of food including dumplings, fried rice, salt and pepper chicken and veggies.

The event welcomes all students to come together to celebrate the past year, as well as the New Year, with their very own family.

“Being Asian-American, you have an identity that’s completely made up. (Therefore,) we might not be doing the most traditional way of celebrating, but we are celebrating in our own way,” Chen said.

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