he Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the biggest and most important celebration in the Chinese tradition. To acknowledge this event at Portland State, the Chinese Student and Scholars Association and the Confucius Institute teamed up to coordinate a huge celebration for 600 people on Friday.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the biggest and most important celebration in the Chinese tradition.
To acknowledge this event at Portland State, the Chinese Student and Scholars Association and the Confucius Institute teamed up to coordinate a huge celebration for 600 people on Friday.
This year’s China Night was celebrated on the eve of the Chinese New Year.
“This holiday is like Christmas for the Chinese,” said Jinglun Sun, an officer for the CSSA. “It’s a time when families come together; it’s a time of reunion.”
The event took place in the Smith Memorial Student Union ballroom from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Festivities opened with the sound of drums and a colorful dragon dance performed by the Phi Ho Lion Dance Team.
The dragon dance is a traditional dance and performance in China typical to New Year celebrations. More than 18 other performances followed, including a fashion show and a traditional Chinese musical demonstration with an erhu and a zither, bowed musical instruments.
This year, China Night included performances with a modern flair, including a hip-hop style “popping dance” and a fashion show from the Kerry Yu Shanks Fashion Team showing off the latest Chinese styles.
“This year we wanted to give the people a more diverse show,” Sun said. “While we do have many traditional Chinese performances, we wanted to bring in more elements this year.”
The event featured catering from Mandarin Cove Chinese Restaurant, which offered a menu with five different selections for the hundreds of attendees.
“The food quality has been a major improvement compared to last year,” Sun said.
The event has grown over the 23 years it has been celebrated at PSU.
“When I started with this 23 years ago, we were in this very room and had only 20 or 30 people, mostly older graduate students,” said professor Fu Li, the faculty advisor for CSSA. “Now we have many more undergraduate Chinese students here and the celebration attracts a much larger audience.”
The Confucius Institute, which started coordinating the event with the CSSA three years ago, was responsible for five of the performances. A big crowd pleaser was the bamboo clapper performance, in which a young boy recited the story of the Monkey King from the famous Chinese classic, Journey To the West.
“The goal of the Confucius Institute is to promote Chinese language and culture with a variety of classes both on and off campus and in K–12 schools,” said Meiru Liu, director of the institute. “We are excited to be able to involve more youth in the event.”
The boy who performed the bamboo clapper also performed for high-ranking state counselors from China who visited PSU in April.
Vice president of the CSSA Cheng Fang started his term in January and served as host of the event.
“The mission of the CSSA is to provide service and assistance to all Chinese students, and promote intellectual and cultural communications in the community,” Fang said. “China Night has always been our most important event.”