Chinese New Year celebration brings red and gold to UAF

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Reporter
Feb. 11, 2014

Christine Ma performs Chinese Aerobics at the Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Christine Ma performs Chinese Aerobics at the Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, Feb. 8. Elika Roohi/Sun Star

Over 100 people filled the Wood Center Carol Brown Ballroom on Saturday night to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese Student Association hosted the event, which has been going on for 15 to 20 years, according to the organization’s adviser, Rosalind Kan, a professor of Chinese at UAF.

The event always packs the ballroom with an eager crowd excited to spend time with friends and family, enjoy the catered buffet from Fairbanks’ Mayflower restaurant and watch the evening’s events, which range from dances to songs to fashion shows.

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. This year, which started on January 31, is the Chinese year 4712.

According to legend, in ancient times Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on the Chinese New Year. Only 12 animals showed up, so Buddha named a year after each one. Each animal has their own characteristics, and people born in that year will embody some of those characteristics.

This year is the year of the horse. Those born in the year of the horse are believed to be cheerful, skilled with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands.

The UAF celebration was carried out with gusto typical of Chinese New Year celebrations in China, according to Associate Professor of Marketing Lily Dong.

“It really has the same atmosphere,” Dong said.

Dong has helped host the celebration in Fairbanks for several years. She usually serves as the Master of Ceremonies of the event, but this year she helped put together the red envelopes to hand out to the children. Red envelopes are a traditional treat for kids given out at festivals with money inside.

The Chinese Student Association coordinated the entire event, which included quite the lineup of entertainment for the evening. Dancing children started off the night, doing a cute choreographed dance.

One of the more popular acts was Kan’s annual fashion show. Students enrolled in her Chinese class and several other volunteers modeled different types of Chinese clothing.

The duet “Xiao Jiu Wo” sung by Josh and Annie Verhagen was also a hit with the crowd. Both Verhagens are native English speakers who have studied Chinese abroad.

Josh Verhagen also sang the Chinese pop song; “Di Yi Ge Quin Cheng.”

“This was the first Chinese pop song I ever heard,” he said. “And the first Chinese pop song I fell in love with.”

The program also included Taiji sword and Wudang sword dances, as well as a violin solo and several other vocal solos.

The evening wrapped up with a choir performance, and wishes for a prosperous new year.

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