Radford joins with regional Chinese community to celebrate New Year
To culminate the annual worldwide Chinese New Year celebrations, more than 200 people joined Radford University’s Chinese Club on Feb. 23 for the Lantern Festival.
The Chinese New Year Celebration featured 16 performances by dancers, musicians and martial artists from across the region and campus, such as the Blacksburg Chinese School, Dragon Tiger Eagle Wushu Gongfu, 15-50 Dance Group, the Blacksburg Senior Group and Radford University’s Asian Pop Culture Club, who performed onstage at the Sandra C. Davis and William C. Davis Performance Hall and gathered in the Scartelli Atrium in the Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts.
Radford’s 19th annual Chinese New Year Celebration was sponsored by the Radford University Chinese Club, the McGlothlin Foundation, the Center for Global Education and Engagement and the Department of Foreign Language and Literature.
Sarahbeth Roberts, president of the Chinese Club, reflected on the event’s overall good feeling as the performers and audience mingled afterward over traditional Chinese holiday food.
“For me, it is a highlight to see so many people happy and at ease,” said Roberts, a junior theatre and psychology major from Blacksburg. “To showcase the beauty of Chinese culture, so many wonderful people have come together to share their talents.”
Chinese New Year is the largest Chinese holiday and is referred to as Lunar New Year because of the orientation of the traditional Chinese calendar to the moon and its phases. The Lantern Festival is the final event in a two-week holiday celebration and heralds the beginning of the "Year of the Pig" and ends the “Year of the Dog.” Each new year is named according to a 12-animal schedule, based upon the Chinese zodiac.
Among the festival guests were 15 students from China’s Shandong University who were studying at the Language and Culture Institute at Virginia Tech, as well as Dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Matthew Smith.
Radford University’s Asian Pop Culture Club performed a contemporary dance routine and Tylis Johnson, club president and a junior biology major from Lynchburg, welcomed the opportunity to deepen her group’s understanding of a culture she finds “fascinating.”
“It is amazing to explore different cultures,” Johnson said. “The Chinese culture has a big influence on the Asian pop culture that we enjoy.”
I-Ping Fu, associate professor of foreign languages and director of the Kirk Scholars Program that enables Radford University students to study in China, said, “It is a great day when people from the university and surrounding communities can come together to celebrate and get to know one another better.”