Dragons, drums and dance

Lanterns, lion dancing and martial arts transformed the Marvin Center Friday into a Lunar New Year celebration.

Although many students are far from home, Lunar New Year celebrations Friday at GW aim to foster a family to celebrate traditional holiday customs.

A ribbon dance troupe waved colorful streamers to traditional music; musicians banged on drums and clanged symbols; models strutted a makeshift runway for a fashion show and everyone feasted on a variety of food.

Zach Krahmer | Hatchet Photographer
Musicians play traditional Chinese music.

“Years are measured by the lunar calendar. The celebration starts on New Year’s, and it’s a 15-day celebration that ends with the Lantern Festival. It’s really a family-oriented event, and it’s really huge in China,” explained Stacy Lin, junior and president of CASA. “Here at GW, it’s a great time for everyone to get together, eat and catch up.”

Lion dancers donned traditional costumes, leaping and weaving on stage as they carried an ornate and brightly decorated Chinese lion over their heads. The dance is a Lunar New Year tradition.

Wushu, which translates to “martial arts” from Chinese, was also included in festivities as participants showed off defensive moves of strength and discipline.

“Our CASA mission is to spread Chinese culture, so this is great,” sophomore Alice Zhang, a program director, said.

Lin reminisced about celebrating the Chinese New Year at home before coming to GW, travelling to her grandparent’s house for a large family dinner every year. Her grandparents and parents give their children red envelopes with money inside – a typical tradition in Chinese families.

Lunar New Year is 15 days long, and businesses usually close for the first six days – this year starting Jan. 23 – so that everyone can spend time at home with their families, a central part of the entire holiday’s festivities.

“We just wanted to use this time to allow the CASA family to gather and share our culture with dances, music and skits,” Lin said.

The Terp Wushu martial arts team from the University of Maryland College Park performed acrobatic stunts, and lion dancing from the D.C. troupe “Wong People” entertained spectators both familiar and new to the festivities.

“We definitely put our heart and soul into it, and it means a lot to us that it was a success,” Jeff Li, junior and emcee, said.

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