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The Chinese calender runs on a 12- year cycle with an animal representing each year. This year is the year of the goat. Art by Neha Sekhon

Since December the Laurier community has been preparing to display its culturally diverse population and celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. The event was created to help students get involved while enjoying Laurier’s diverse culture. It also honored the advantages of a multicultural campus. “Looking around at our students, we are a multicultural campus. It’s important to learn about and be open to different cultures other than our own,” said student and co-ordinator, Dalton Rawcliffe. The celebration featured traditional dancers from TK Olympic Taekwondo Center in Brantford, along with Chinese dumpling making and fireworks.

The actual Chinese New Year is on February 19 but the astrological year kicked off February 4, the night of the event. The Chinese calendar runs on a 12-year cycle with an animal representing each year. This year is the year of the goat.

Joined with the History Program, Laurier International, LEAF and Student Life & Engagement, the night started off with the making of Chinese dumplings at St. Andrew’s Church, which arepart oftraditional New Year celebrations. Afterwards, in the RCW lobby, students, instructors and family gathered to watch TK Olympic dancers ranging from seven to twenty five years old perform. The audience watched in awe as the dancers, accompanied by the drum, performed the Chinese lion dance representing prosperity, as well as demonstrations of defense techniques.

The performances displayed the importance of sharing and celebrating diversity on campus.  Dr. Han, a history professor at Laurier and co-ordinator for the event, echoed the force behind the event, “Our campus itself is so culturally diverse. It’s important that we recognize this diversity and get to know each other.” The event succeeded in attracting around 100 guests, and all were amazed by the traditional performances.

Students, instructors and family gathered to watch TK Olympic dancers and demonstrators of defense techniques. Photo by Christina Manocchio

Students, instructors and family gathered to watch TK Olympic dancers and demonstrators of defense techniques. Photo by Christina Manocchio

Following the performance, guests attended dinner at St. Andrew’s Church and enjoyed Chinese dumplings. It was an event filled with diverse interactions where students engaged in learning a culture other than their own. The event promoted the value of recognizing and understanding the traditions and customs of different cultures on campus. Students enjoyed witnessing the openness and different celebrations of the Chinese culture.

Attendees appreciated the preparation and the opportunity to experience diversity in the Laurier community.  Ramona Peng, an international student studying at Laurier, commented on the success of the event. “Events like this get students more involved because they understand the Chinese culture and other cultures better. I hope Laurier organizes many more events like this.”

Aside from the performances and dinner, there was also a gift draw for lucky attendees. The New Year festivities concluded with the setting of celebratory fireworks. The event was successful in celebrating the Chinese culture and bringing students together.

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