Ceremony honors Chinese National Day

Traditional Chinese dances, a colorful fashion show and diplomat speeches highlighted a celebration of the 53rd annual Chinese National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival at the Marvin Center Saturday. The Chinese Students and Scholars Association sponsored the event.

About 400 people, including students, alumni and families, attended the event, which was co-hosted by the CSSAs from American, Georgetown and Catholic universities and the National Institute of Health.

The festivities included dances, music, games and speeches by local Chinese community leaders, including the Chinese diplomats to the United States.

“This is one of the most important days in the Chinese tradition,” said Andrew Li, a business graduate student. “Chinese National Day is similar to the American Independence Day, and the Autumn Festival is similar to Thanksgiving.”

Although the event was billed as open “to all lovers of Chinese culture,” the introduction to each segment of the program and the guest speakers’ remarks, including those made by the Chinese General Attache Yicheng Qian, were in Chinese.

“He spoke about how important it is that the Chinese community continues to honor traditions even while they are far from home,” said Jan Chang, an AU student who speaks both English and Chinese.

CSSA President Bo Jin said the group invited the Chinese Ambassador, but he had to cancel because of commitments in Chicago.

The program also included a colorful dancing display by the Wong Chinese Kickboxing Association, a Chinese dragon and various traditional fight sequences.

Members of the HandReach Association, a group based in the United States that works to improve education levels in underdeveloped parts of China, were on hand for the event.

“We work with micro-grants in the amount of $200, and no restrictions are placed on those who receive the money,” said Brecken Chinn Swartz, a HandReach organizer. “Many Chinese in America come from poor parts of China and become very successful here. We target those people to give money. All the money collected goes to children who need it; we all work on a volunteer basis.”

Since its inception in January, the group has raised $1,000, in the form of five grants, for various projects.

Jin said the group plans to hold a similar reception early next year to commemorate the upcoming spring. He also said he hopes to hold more English language events to allow non-Chinese individuals to learn more about Chinese culture.

-Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report

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