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A Cold but Festive Start to the Year of the Rabbit

- Released on Feb 18, 2011

College Station, Texas – Students and staff at Texas A&M University and members of the communities of Bryan and College Station braved the cold to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at the 5th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration on February 10, 2011. This year’s celebration was organized by the Confucius Institute (CI), Institute for Pacific Asia (IPA), Dining Services and supported in part by Wells Fargo Bank.

The event was kicked off shortly after 5:00 pm by the emcee for the event, Josh Posten, a third year student of Chinese at Texas A&M, and followed immediately by opening remarks delivered by Dr. Martyn Gunn, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs at Texas A&M University. Dr. Gunn’s remarks were followed by the traditional lion dance which has become a part of the tradition at the annual Texas A&M Lunar New Year celebrations.

A departure from previous years, the exciting dances and demonstrations outside of Sbisa for the Lunar New Year were provided by a traveling performance troupe from Harbin Normal University. The performance troupe charmed the audience with colorful performances such as the Mongolian Chop-stick dance and a Kung Fu demonstration set to the song “Kung Fu Fighting” by 1970’s singer Carl Douglas, recently made popular again by the DreamWorks film Kung Fu Panda.

At the conclusion of the event much of the crowd moved into the warm surroundings of the Sbisa Dining Center to enjoy the Chinese themed buffet dinner prepared especially for the Lunar New Year celebrations by Dining Services. An estimated 1,555 diners were treated to traditional Chinese cultural exhibits and activities such as Tea Arts and Gu Zheng music. A particularly popular exhibit was the calligraphy and painting exhibit by master painter Mr. Gao Huimin of Harbin Normal University.

When asked about her overall impression of the event, Lynne Zheng, a Chinese Students and Scholars Association volunteer for the event replied, “Very festive! This was my first Lunar New Year celebration in US and I was so excited to enjoy the traditional performances here on campus. The rabbit suit was cute and the Hong Bao red envelopes took me back to my happy childhood in China.”

Already in its fifth year the celebration has grown over the years thanks to the support of the University and community partners. Originally started as way to bring the Lunar New Year, a celebration important to many cultures around the world, to the students at Texas A&M to help encourage global competency and awareness, the event has become a part of the great traditions at A&M.