International Club Celebrates Chinese New Year

February 13, 2012
Nay Min Oo '12

posterIn order to share Chinese culture with the college community, on February 7 the Hampden-Sydney International Club celebrated the Chinese New Year - the Year of the Dragon - and the Chinese Lantern Festival. The event was held in the Fellowship Hall in College Church and was co-sponsored by the International House and the Department of Modern Languages .

The Chinese New Year actually fell on January 23; however, the club decided to celebrate the occasion on February 6 along with the Lantern Festival.  At the event, which started at 4:00 PM, dumplings, glutinous rice balls, stir-fried chicken, stir-fried leek flower, and fried rice were served. Food was prepared by Professor Tianran L. Savaiinaea (pictured below), Lecturer in Chinese; Nay Min Oo '12, President of International Club; and Mrs. Sandy Pin. The event saw over fifty students, faculty and staff, and community residents attend.

After the guests had a taste of the food, Professor Savaiinaea explained the traditions of the Chinese New Year and Chinese Lantern Festival. According to Savaiinaea, the Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar, after which, traditionally, Chinese people use firecrackers to ward off the evil spirits and wear red clothing to attract good fortune.

Following the introduction of the Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival, Professor Savaiinaea invited students from her two Chinese classes to participate. The students from Tianran L. Savaiinaeathe intermediate class said New Year wishes in Chinese to the guests while those from the introductory class sang a Chinese New Year carol. Afterwards, Professor Savaiinaea started a quiz session in which she gave a red envelope (hongbao), with one dollar in it, to each of the guests who came up with the correct answers.

Guests were divided into tables for three different games: a chopstick M&M's picking contest, a Chinese map jigsaw, and ping-pong. Nick Kasper '15 ended up winning two of the three competitions (M&M's picking and China's map jigsaw) while Shihao Tian '12 from China won the ping-pong challenge.

The mission of the International Club remains fostering relations through cultural awareness, and the Club will host more fun and informative on-campus cultural events during the rest of the semester including the International Festival in April. The Club will also be traveling to to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. Interested individuals can receive more information about upcoming club events by contacting President Nay Min Oo at