Celebrasia Performers Ring In Chinese New Year

Tiarra Medley

By Tiarra MedleyThe Daily Northwestern

More than 500 Northwestern students filled Tech Auditorium Saturday night for Celebrasia 2007, Northwestern’s celebration of the onset of the Year of the Pig.

Red and gold ornamental tapestries and paper lanterns created a festive mood in the lobby of Tech that continued inside the venue. This year’s theme was “Bringin’ home the bacon and wishing you a ‘hammy’ new year.”

In a collaborative effort, the Chinese Students Association and the Taiwanese American Students Club brought student performers and professional talent together for the celebration of the Lunar New Year, which began Sunday.

“We were very pleased with the turnout,” said SESP junior Megan Chiou, president of the Taiwanese club and. “We always get a really huge crowd, and the same thing happened tonight.”

In its ninth year, Celebrasia featured many traditional elements, such as a Lion Eye Dotting Ceremony and a Lion Dance performed by the Colorado-based organization Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu.

In the ceremony, someone is selected to “give life and senses” to the lion by dotting it on different parts of the body with pigeon’s blood, although red ink was used for the NU celebration. Only after the dotting can the lion be used in festivities and the Lion Dance be performed.

The Bureau of Acrobats, a group of professional Chinese acrobats, entertained the audience with traditional tumbles and exercises in balance and poise that date back to 475 B.C.

The event also featured more contemporary acts from NU students, like ReFresh Dance Crew, a hip hop dance troupe; Morphin’, a rock and pop band formed by TASC members in 2004; and the Treblemakers, the first East Asian a cappella group on campus.

The Asian interest fraternity, Lambda Phi Epsilon, performed a step routine. Another group of students presented self-produced comedic vignettes that portrayed various aspects of Asian culture.

“We want to provide a variety of acts for our audience to show how our culture has developed and changed through the ages from more ancient times to more modern times,” Chiou said.

The Chinese New Year celebration is the oldest and most significant holiday in Chinese culture, according to the Celebrasia playbill. It typically culminates in a 15-day celebration with family, feasting and festivals.

Members of the Taiwanese American Students Club and Chinese Student Association believe the annual Celebrasia festival is instrumental in sharing the important cultural aspect with the NU community.

“It has become a tradition,” Chiou said. “It really allows us to educate and explain our culture and the beauty of it, and that can appeal to and reach such a large audience.”

Those in attendance looked at the event as a fun and educational experience.

“It was so varied and captivating. You take something away from it though and I think that’s always really important,” said Fariah Ahmad, a Weinberg freshman. “I am definitely looking forward to going next year.”

Reach Tiarra Medley at [email protected]