Kean students and faculty celebrates the Chinese culture by hosting the Chinese New Year Kick-Off

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Photo credit: Rafaela Teixeira
By Rafaela Teixeira | Published Feb 8,2017

To embrace Kean’s connection to China, the Office of Student Organization and Asian Studies department held the annual celebration of the Chinese New Year Kick Off at the Miron Student Center on Jan. 26th, 2017.

This Kick Off to the new year is a  great way for students and professors at Kean University to  celebrate Chinese culture.

The atrium was decorated in bold red lanterns and the tables were covered in red tablecloth to bring good fortune to the rest of the year.

Although the original idea was to decorate using black, it was decided to change directions because the color black is viewed as negativity and darkness; none of which 2017 should be filled with.

There were multiple tables at this event and each table served a purpose. Students associated with the event handed multiple flyers that correlate with each guest’s birth year. The flyers had brief explanations of the person’s characteristics depending on the year they were born.

For instance, the year 1996 was the year of the Rat. Those born in the year of the Rat are seen as clever, bright, ambitious, and possess many other strong qualities.

Another table was occupied with two friendly Chinese students who wrote each person’s name in Mandarin using ink.

The most popular table at the event held the hors d’oeuvres. Bubble tea, juice boxes from China and other light snacks were given to each person who waited patiently in line.

Others who worked the event also walked around the atrium holding trays of egg rolls and lo mein noodles.

During the event, people gathered around to watch the Dragon Dance, where a team of dancers dressed in red and gold costumes held a figure of a dragon using poles. The Dragon Dance is often performed during the Chinese New Year and is a way to bring good fortune to the year.

The dragon dance ended with the performers dropping a banner down from the dragon’s mouth with the words “Hei Fat Choy,” meaning Happy New Year.

Guests of the event had the rest of college hour to walk around to better inform themselves of the different causes and programs available in relation to China and its culture.

Mei- Ling Cheng, the Divisor for WKUSA work as Managing Assistant Director, was able to introduce the organization’s purpose at Kean University as a program that guides exchange students through the transition of visiting Kean University.

“We recognize that we have two campuses and we want to have a cause that can reach both campuses. We have student exchanges every semester, so when they come here, they already have people who guide them,” said Mei- Ling.

The student exchange program allows staff and students to visit the Wenzhou campus and familiarize themselves with the Chinese culture.

Hosting the Chinese New Year kick off at the Union campus is an important way for people to get involved and also a step to guide those who want to visit Wenzhou to learn before the experience.

“It’s important to have cultural awareness because it’s not just about just the Chinese culture, but the fact that we have a Chinese campus,” said Mei-Ling. “I think it’s important to reach that gap so we have more people go, not just students but staff as well.”

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