College Station, Texas, January 26 – Over 2,300 students, faculty, and staff at Texas A&M University as well as members of the Bryan and College Station communities gathered to welcome the year of the dragon at the 6th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration on January 26, 2012. This year’s celebration was organized by the Confucius Institute (CI), Department of International Affairs, and Dining Services. The event was also supported by a generous donation from Wells Fargo Bank.
The event was held at the Sbisa Dining Hall which was beautifully adorned with traditional Chinese decorations including two panels on either side of the entrance wishing all those who entered: “One more year, one more year’s life; spring comes over the heaven and earth with prosperity for man.” The event began shortly after 6:00pm with opening remarks delivered by Dr. Pamela Matthews, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
The Houston Shaolin Kung Fu Academy entertained the audience with a drum show, kung fu demonstration, and traditional lion dance which included four brightly colored dragons. After the performance, guests were led by the drummers into Sbisa Dining Hall where they enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner of Asian cuisine featuring dishes from Chef Willie Sng of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Chef Tommy T. Le from Pho John’s in College Station.
Over 50 volunteers from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), Asian Presidents Council, and the Philippine Student Association (PhilSA) helped to facilitate cultural activities which continued in the dining hall throughout the evening. Cultural activities this year included: temporary dragon tattoos, paper cutting, origami, and Chinese calligraphy. Excited guests lined up at each table to learn about and participate in a traditional craft and receive a special keepsake to take home. The four volunteers at the Chinese calligraphy table were especially busy as scores of guests waited patiently to receive a rendering of their names in Chinese. Guests were also treated to a live performance of traditional Chinese music while they ate and participated in the cultural activities.
Now in its 6th year at Texas A&M University, the Lunar New Year Celebration has grown significantly each year attracting guests from all over the community. Dr. Pamela Matthews emphasized the importance of the Lunar New Year celebration around the world and here in our own community.
“The beginning of this week marked the single most important holiday for many Asian countries and is currently being celebrated in Beijing, Seoul, Kuala Lampur, Bangkok, Hanoi, Manila, and Singapore among other places. And here in Aggieland, home to a proud and diverse family with members from all over the world, we are excited to be a part of this celebration once again. Tonight, we join with the global community to ring in a year of good fortune, happiness, and prosperity.”