Celebrasia’ rings in the Chinese New Year

Nathalie Tadena

Dancing lions, comedic acts and student musicians helped more than 500 people ring in the Year of the Rat in Ryan Family Auditorium on Saturday as a part of Celebrasia, Northwestern’s annual Lunar New Year celebration. Coordinated by the Chinese Students Association and the Taiwanese American Students Club, the event featured an array of traditional and modern cultural performances.

“Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in China,” said Yvonne Man, the Chinese Students Association external president and a Medill junior. “We bring in a diverse crowd every year. It’s a good way to bring everyone together.”

This year’s theme was “Rolling out the welcome mat for the rat pack.”

Boulder, Colo.-based Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu kicked off the show with a traditional lion dance, in which pairs of dancers paraded through the aisles and on stage dressed in intricate lion costumes.

Other professional acts included plate-spinning and head-balancing tricks by the Liang Acrobatic and Comedy Show and a Chinese unity dance by Xiao Xing Xing.

Celebrasia also featured its first-ever comedy act with a routine by the award-winning Asian-American comedy troupe, 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors.

“It was pretty impressive to see their parody of the mainstream perception of Asian culture,” said McCormick senior Luke Chen.

The event showcased performances by NU students including traditional dances by Typhoon Dance Troupe; a cappella by the Treblemakers; a pipa musical solo by Weinberg freshman Jierong Pan; a hip-hop routine by ReFresH Dance Crew; a rock performance by student band Morphin’ and stepping by Lambda Phi Epsilon, the Asian-interest fraternity.

Weinberg junior Jeff Ko said he enjoyed the variety of acts in the show, and many of the acts reminded him of dances he used to watch with his family in Hawaii.

“Being Chinese and being away from home, it was nice to see the lion dance and other stuff I used to see (on Chinese New Year) at home,” Ko said.

Though Celebrasia conflicted with another cultural event, the South Asian Student Alliance show, the Chinese New Year celebration still pulled in as large an audience as in previous years.

“The amount of dedication put in was reflected in the turnout,” said Weinberg junior Tom Zhou, the Chinese association’s internal president.

Though there are some differences between Taiwanese and Chinese culture, Celebrasia allows all NU students to learn about Asian culture.

“When it comes down to Chinese New Year, it’s a part of the culture we all share,” said Michael Hsu, the Taiwanese club president and a Weinberg junior. “We want to celebrate New Year’s with everyone on campus, it really is a celebration.”

[email protected]