April 12, 2011
Justin S. Smith '11
The Chinese New Year is the most anticipated holiday in China. A 15-day celebration, it is a time for families to gather and celebrate happiness and wealth. Fulbright Professor Chao Wei shared the tradition of the Chinese New Year with our Hampden-Sydney family and friends by helping to arrange a great selection of songs, to prepare wonderful food, and thus to introduce everyone to Chinese culture.
The celebration began with an amazing variety of foods. Prepared by the students of the International House, as well as our local Chinese community, the food duplicated a meal families in China would also enjoy. There were the famous Chinese dumplings, with choices such as chicken, pork, or vegetarian; two types of fried rice were provided to show the variation of foods eaten in China; a sweet dessert rice was also prepared. Finally there were the classic moon cakes, a favorite among those present. This was a delicious start to a wonderful festival.
The celebration continued with a musical selection provided not only by our own H-SC students, but also by those from Longwood. Michael Dieffenbach, Hakeen Mohammad, Jackson Parker, Kenneth Strum, Eric Turner, and John Weir led the way with a wonderful song entitled, "Are You Happy?" The Chinese class featured Eric Turner as an entertaining soloist. Following them were Matt Paxton and Kirbie Lipscombe, both Longwood students, singing the aptly named song, "Friends." Matt Paxton then surprised everyone by beautifully playing "Jasmine Flower" on his trumpet. Stan, an exchange student from China, finished with "Jiangnan," a beautiful song from the mountainous area in China. It was truly wonderful to have our Longwood brethren join the celebration.
Professor Wei closed the New Year gathering with a wonderfully interesting trivia game. While quizzing everyone on their Chinese culture, he handed out small red envelopes, each containing Chinese currency. Traditionally, these are passed out to children during the celebration. Each receives money from family members in hope of wealth for the New Year. Professor Wei handed these out to those who were savvy in Chinese traditions. It was a creative way to end the festival.
The start of the Year of the Rabbit was wonderful for H-SC. Through delicious food, delightful music, and a wonderful learning experience, Professor Wei as well as the International House and the surrounding community were able to enjoy a true Chinese New Year. If this celebration was any indication, it's going to be a great year, filled with happiness and wealth.