Western welcomes the year of the snake

Last Saturday, 9 Feb., Western Oregon University celebrated the lunar new year, otherwise known as Chinese New Year, with the annual festival hosted in the Pacific Room in Werner University Center.

The festival started at 6:00 pm, opening doors and allowing time for guests to make use of the offered buffet, sponsored by Sing Fays, Yang’s Teriyaki, and Rice Time. After food was served, the celebrations opened with a welcome speech given by the wife of the absent President , Mark Weiss, who sent his regrets. “We are very proud of all global students,” she said. “[The festival] is one more chance to come together and share ideas and many different customs.”

During her speech, Megan Weiss also gave a brief overview of the traditions surrounding the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2013 is the year of the Snake, symbolizing intelligence, wisdom, intuition and introspection. Many of the customs are meant to symbolize family and unity, with an emphasis on thanksgiving. She said that the long holiday is used as a way to express appreciation and thanks for family, and as a way to pass on culture to a younger generation. Red clothing is preferential, for it is supposed to symbolize luck and good fortune. Red envelopes full of money are also given to friends and family. To close the welcome speech, a red envelope was presented to the International Club, from Mrs. Weiss.

The first performance of the night was the Lion Dance, a traditional event performed by the North West Dragon and Lion Dance Association, out of Portland. This was followed by several Kung Fu demonstrations.

The rest of the performance were given by Western students. Among these were vocal performance, a piano solo, a magic performance, and a calligraphy demonstration. Finally, the evening was concluded by a chorus sung by all the performers of the evening together.

By Bonnie Wells

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