By Tahnayee Clendinen, GuestWriter
Though the official start to this Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, fell during J-term break Jan. 31, Pacific Lutheran University students did not forget it.
Students celebrated the holiday in The Cave the evening of Feb. 21. The celebration was a mix of theatrics, crafts and food.
According to one folk legend surrounding the new year, Buddha asked all of the animals to meet him on the Chinese New Year.
Only 12 of all the animals he asked showed up at his request, so to honor them, Buddha named a year after each animal.
Some also say if a person is born in a specific year, then his or her personality will have the good, as well as the bad, aspects of that animal’s character.
Upon walking in, each visitor was immediately confronted by large volumes of noise. A Guzheng — an instrument with moveable bridges and a number of stings — was on the stage for anyone to play, and it gave off very high pitched and choppy yet pleasant notes.
Accompanying the Guzheng was also a big drum that various people decided to play as the crowd shrieked and clapped.
“I’m so glad they brought the instruments,” senior Annie Twombly said. “That’s really fun.”
In addition to the Chinese music elements, organizers set up a table for attendees to prepare traditional Chinese dumplings. Some had experience making them, while others were beginners.
“I thought it was a very big culture shock” first-year Kimberly Nolasco said. “It was fascinating making dumplings and having the chance to share the experience.”
Another table was available for students to practice Chinese calligraphy and to make lion hand puppets. The results were brightly colored puppets and various scripted phrases.
First-year Karin Luvaas said she thought the puppets added in a little something extra that made the event unique and enjoyable for everyone.
“I feel that it was planned out very well and brought the PLU community together in a fun and different way,” Luvaas said. “Making the lion puppets was really different and fun too.”
Although the puppets, instruments and dumpling making were undoubtedly great touches to the night, no other aspect of the night rivaled the lion dance in the opinion of many attendees.
The body of the lion was very long and covered in beige feathers in addition to gold sequins. The face of the lion, had orange and red sequins and intricate details that dazzled viewers.
The performers jumped and danced around the stage, and the audience showered the performance with applause.
“My favorite thing was the lion dance,” Nolasco said, and Luvaas agreed.
Overall, attendees said they enjoyed the event.
“I thought it was great,” Twombly said. “I’m a Chinese studies major, and I haven’t been to China yet, so it is fun to get little snippets like this. I hope they do it again.” ◼︎