China House celebrates New Year

Wu Ke helps students practice their calligraphy during the Chinese New Year event.

The East Asian Department and NYU China House hosted the first-ever official Chinese New Year celebration on Wednesday. Attracting a line that led out the door, the event incorporated typical Chinese traditions and made them more accessible to the average NYU student.

Crowds developed around the entrance, trying to get a glimpse of the various cultural booths. Stations featured a diverse range of Chinese activities, including paper cutting, lantern riddle-solving, calligraphy, knot weaving, traditional costumes dressing, taste-testing traditional food and folk dance demonstrations.

Shiqi Liao, the Chinese language coordinator and associate director of China House, was one of the lead organizers of the event. Although this year is the first NYU has hosted any official Lunar New Year event, Liao did not find the event planning to be particularly difficult.

“The faculty members, we put our heads together,” Liao said. “You have to make some effort. We started organizing about two weeks ago and it was a pretty smooth process. The hardest part was trying to get students interested.”

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Beside the Chinese department, Liao said the NYU China House was also a large contributor to and organizer of
the event.

“China House is sort of like an affinity house trying to bring people across disciplines, across departments, across schools, who are interested in China — Chinese economy, Chinese legal system, Chinese
literature,” Liao said. “This event is a chance to bring people in together so they have a taste of the Chinese way of celebrating Chinese New Year.”

Golden West College junior Cody Peck said the event helped young people who are not otherwise affiliated with the Chinese culture learn more about it.

“I just love how the younger generations are keeping up the tradition,” Peck said. “It’s a great lesson for outsiders as well. We get a little insight on what the Chinese culture is about.”

Stern sophomore Kathy Lin related NYU’s take on the Chinese New Year to celebrations she’s been to in China. She said the event encapsulated the authentic Chinese experience for an American audience.

“From the foods, to the games, to the clothing, I think it’s a pretty comprehensive view of how Chinese New Year is really like in China,” Lin said. “It definitely teaches people a lot about the culture.”

CAS junior Helen Lee said the event allowed her to get a perspective of a culture she has only encountered through
the media.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn traditions of a culture that you otherwise wouldn’t have much contact with apart from what you see in the media,” Lee said.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Feb. 19 print edition. Email Christine Wang at [email protected]

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