On Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, the ballrooms at Weber State University were overflowing with people celebrating the third annual Chinese New Year event.

The evening event commemorated the New Year celebration that is currently taking place in China and other Asian countries.  The New Year celebration officially began Jan. 23 and will last for exactly 15 days.  Feb. 6is the last day of the celebration and will end with the famous Lantern Festival.

Not only is 2012 the year of the dragon, it is the water dragon, which only happens every 60 years.

WSU’s Chinese Club organized the free event, which included a list of many diverse performances. Free Chinese food was also provided.

The two-hour program consisted of a lion and dragon dance, a Chinese bamboo flute performance by WSU student Zhou Haun, songs, skits and dances by the Uintah Elementary School Chinese Immersion Program, a performance by the WSU African Drum Society, Chinese kung fu by Eric Bradshaw, two performances by the WSU group KIM and a Chinese fashion show.

Two rows of children’s craft booths were positioned outside the ballrooms to attract participation throughout the night.  They included a Chinese fan booth, dragon mask coloring, a chopstick game, calligraphy, kung fu weapons, paper cutting and a Chinese name booth.

Amanda Truong, a zoology major at WSU and the Chinese Club secretary, was the official greeter and managed the craft booths at the event.

“This is my first year involved,” Truong said. “I have attended it in past years, but I’m actually a part of it this year.”

Truong was most excited about the Chinese fashion show, which displayed an array of dresses from different provinces throughout China.

“With this event, we are trying to bring the Chinese culture to the Ogden and Weber Community,” Truong said. “We hope to bring a Chinese minor to WSU. It is to help make the Chinese program bigger.”

April Mao, a recent WSU graduate who participated in the 2 Plus 2 program from Shanghai University, said how personal this event is for the foreign exchange students from China.

“This is a really big event and an annual thing,” Mao said. “We are all away from home and every time there is a festival, the Chinese Club president always gets everyone together to make them feel more like they’re at home. This event is really good.”

Melissa Pittman, a Chinese foreign language professor at WSU, said that preparation for the event started at the beginning of last semester.

“I am very excited about this event,” Pittman said. “I hope it will continue every year and make it a Weber tradition.  That is really what I’m hoping for.  If we can make this a tradition, we can really draw students to the program and also to Weber.”

Pittman said she was excited about the lion dance that was the opening act of the event and the dragon dance that finished the event. A professional group from Master Lu’s Health Center from Salt Lake City was invited to perform the lion dance.  The Chinese Club also welcomed its newest member

“The dragon dance is actually meant to bring a lot of precipitation to the land,” Pittman said. “Water also means money and wealth, and to bring everybody good fortune. And with the lion dance to open the show, it means it will bring blessings to everybody.”

Pittman also mentioned how the event happened to land on the fifth day of the actual New Year’s celebration.

“The fifth day is the day that we welcome the money god back,” Pittman said. “Every business reopens because everybody closes the day before the Chinese New Year. Everybody is off work for five days, but they go back to open the business and to receive good wishes. So this event is actually very special. Everyone that participates in this event will be rich this year.”

Pittman said there was a lot of help for the event with sponsors and volunteers, but he hopes to get more support in the future.  A donation box was set out during the night for the use of future events.

“Next year hopefully we can have enough support for catering, so I don’t have to cook every year,” Pittman said.

The event was sponsored by WSU Continuing Education, Community Services and the Golden Dynasty Restaurant.  It was co-sponsored by Syracuse Jr. High School, Eastern Winds Restaurant, WSU Center for Diversity & Unity and the WSU Multicultural Center.

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