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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BC3 rings in Lunar New Year

Published: February 10, 2012
Section: Features

The Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection (BC3) welcomed in the Year of the Dragon last Saturday with a Lunar New Year celebration, complete with food and entertainment. Levin Ballroom took on a festive atmosphere as BC3 members and volunteers decorated the room with a giant dragon backdrop, red streamers with Chinese characters, and other Chinese symbols of luck and prosperity.

The customary celebration of the Chinese New Year lasts 15 days. Each day is filled with festivities deeply rooted in Chinese tradition. On New Year’s Eve, families reunite and feast on an eight- or nine-dish meal as they welcome in the new year. At least eight or nine dishes must be served since the number “eight” is regarded as a symbol of fortune.

On New Year’s Day, adults or young married couples give red envelopes filled usually with money to the younger generation as an offer of prosperity, good luck and education. Everyone then travels downtown to watch a Lion Dance.

The Lion Dance, which rids evil spirits from its location, was thus the opening performance at Brandeis’ Lunar New Year Show. The Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy was invited this year to perform this choreographed work of art. Other off campus performances included a band from the Berklee School of Music and an a cappella group from MIT. Brandeis students also participated in a variety of dances, singing performances and even a fashion show.

Each dance was choreographed by the Lunar New Year coordinator, Julie Yiu ’13. Hoping to integrate both international- and American-born students, Yiu ensured that each song and dance combined Chinese tradition with Western culture.

“[The Performances] can help connect the Chinese students with local students … We have traditional dancing and folk singing, and I think that’s something that can help people understand the Chinese culture. If they understand the culture, they can communicate better,” Yiu said.

The fashion show models similarly took on a multi-cultural approach as they picked through their wardrobes, deciding which outfits to showcase. Some chose traditional North or South Chinese attire, such as the qipao, a Chinese traditional dress. Others modeled more Western styles, such as short dresses or three-piece suits. Each outfit derived both appreciation and laughter from the audience. Peter Yang ’12, BC3’s senior representative, even stripped off his suit jacket to the sound of the crowd’s cheers.

“Most members of BC3 are from overseas and they wore more traditional Chinese outfits. I chose to model a western business casual suit because I wanted to showcase the American-Asian side of BC3. At the same time, I’m happy to reconnect with my Chinese background,” Yang said.

Organizers said the evening effectively brought the Chinese Lunar New Year to Brandeis.

“The main goal is to promote Chinese culture. We want to put on a show that can help Chinese students get together and celebrate the holiday … and we want to help [other] students experience Chinese culture and language,” Yiu said.