The Chinese New Year is coming to Dixie State University Wednesday, complete with live dancers, music, activities and traditional food.
The festivities will be held on the campus Diagonal 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Live performances will feature classical Chinese music, a costumed lion dance and a fan dance. Master Whitehead, a prominent martial artist, will be offering Kung-Fu demonstrations.
There will also be chopstick games, traditional Chinese food samples, karaoke, calligraphy writing lessons, zodiac readings and other booths where students can learn more about Chinese culture.
Michelle Wu, an adjunct professor in the Chinese and Confucius Center on campus, organized the event with help from some of her students, the Confucius Center, and the International Student Services department.
The Confucius Center is a branch of the Confucius Institute of the University of Utah. It offers Chinese classes for students at DSU and support for Chinese students. They will be sponsoring the event.
“This is the first time we’ve had a Chinese New Year celebration on campus,” Wu said. “We are hoping it will not only be for the Chinese students, but also for the American students to come and learn about Chinese culture. It’s going to be a very enjoyable activity with lots of opportunities for students to participate.”
Nearly half of the international students at DSU are from China, said Michael Hasfurther, an admissions officer in the International Student Services department. Hasfurther believes this event will be helpful for all DSU students to open their eyes to another culture.
“DSU is not a very diverse school yet, but we live in an age where we are increasingly connected to other cultures,” Hasfurther said. “It’s a valuable part of a student’s education in this day of age to have some knowledge of other cultures, which is what we are trying to provide with this event.”
DSU students will be running the performances, activities and booths. Dusty Taylor, a sophomore art major from Logandale, Nevada, will be one of the costumed dancers in the Lion Dance. The Lion Dance is a traditional dance in which two performers mimic a lion together under a large red and yellow costume.
“A lot of people don’t fully understand [Chinese culture],” Taylor said. “This event will be a really enjoyable way for the locals to make friends with some of the Chinese students here and appreciate their culture.”
Although the Chinese New Year celebration on campus is going to be done with all good intentions, it is still quite unlike the festivals one may find in China, said Hiu-Yu “Fish” Tang, a senior psychology major from Hong Kong.
“[The DSU Chinese New Year celebration] is really different than what I’m used to in Hong Kong,” Tang said. “We all get five days off work and school. We all get lucky money in red envelopes and have lots of fireworks. But mostly we just spend time with family, like Thanksgiving.”
The Chinese New Year celebration is a good way for international students at DSU to feel more at home, Tang said.
“It’s really hard for people that come from China to adjust to life in the states,” Tang said. “[This event] will help [international students] find a home and it shows that they’re welcome here at Dixie.”