By Gayathri Selvaraj
The Chinese New Year is considered one of the most auspicious events in China, and many people gather to celebrate this day with much pomp and joy. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2014 is the year of the horse. On February 1, 2014, the MIM students at Portland State University gathered along with their friends and families to celebrate the Chinese New Year and learn about culture and practices from different parts of Asia.
The hall was decorated with beautiful Chinese and Japanese themed decorations like paper lanterns and banners. Red is considered the symbol of good luck and hence was the color theme of the evening. There were plenty of Asian snacks and drinks for the guests at every table, and dinner was served with delicious dishes from both Japanese and Chinese cuisines.
The celebrations began at 3:30 pm with Dr. Piman Limpaphayom, MIM Academic Director, welcoming the audience with an opening speech.
After the speech, the festivities began in full swing with the Chinese Lion Dance troop giving an incredible performance.
Ms. Hanyang Zhang, a MIM student from China, gave us a brief speech on the importance of the Chinese New Year and an ancient story of the Nian (year) monster. It was also very interesting to learn about how people celebrate the festival in Taiwan; Ms. I-Ting Chen, a MIM student from Taiwan, explained their own version of the New Year.
After hearing about the traditions of celebrating Chinese New Year in China and Taiwan, the students who study Chinese as part of the MIM program gathered to demonstrate the art of Tai Chi and sing a number of Chinese songs.
When it was time for the students from the Japanese class to showcase their talent, they rose to the occasion by singing a few songs as well.
There were also several other musical performances by faculty, full-time students, part-time students, and alumni of the MIM program. In between the performances, there were raffle ticket drawings where each guest was given the chance to win special gifts, including red envelopes filled with dollar bills.
The final event of the evening was a Chinese fan dance performed by six female MIM students who delighted the audience with their beautiful performance.
At the end of the celebrations, all of the guests gathered around to take a group picture in order to capture the fun filled evening forever.