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Skits, food and performances ring in Lunar New Year

The UNH United Asian Coalition (UAC) held their eighth annual Lunar New Year celebration on the night of Friday, Feb. 3 in the Granite State Room  of the Memorial Union Building (MUB). The Lunar New Year is a celebration of the new year based off of the Chinese calendar, and while the actual date of the new year can vary based on the lunar cycle (this is why the celebration is referred to as the “Lunar” new year), the new year always occurs between the dates of Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. This year is the year of the rooster, and was celebrated globally on Jan. 28.

The Lunar New Year isn’t only celebrated in China, but is viewed as a holiday in countries across Asia. The celebrations consist of honoring specific traditions. The UAC contracted the Chinese Folk Art Workshop—a group of performers that honor Chinese traditions— from Boston for the event. Mei Wei, the restaurant offering Asian cuisine located in Durham at 7 Mill Road, catered the celebration that night.

The Lunar New Year celebration began with a skit put on by UAC members titled “Legend of Nian.” In the skit, the character Nian was a dragon that terrorized the villagers. The villagers have no idea how to get rid of Nian, but upon beginning to lose all hope, an old man offers some advice. The old man advises the villagers to show no fear because Nian is fueled by their fear of him. He also encourages them to wear red to scare off Nian. The villagers took the advice and by the end of the skit, they are able to scare of Nian.

During the skit, the night’s host, Auderien Monareh, the president of the UAC, paused the performers and took time to instruct the crowd on how to make paper lanterns. The audience appeared to enjoy this interactive moment of the skit, displaying the success met by the UAC  in sharing this quick arts and crafts project with a full house.

Following the skit, those in attendance were able to enjoy the dinner, as supplied by Mei Wei. The menu was extensive and consisted of traditional Chinese cuisine that included fried rice, veggie lo mien, chicken skewers, chicken and broccoli, and beef and broccoli. The United Asian Coalition was successful in providing enough food for everyone.

After dinner, the night continued with the performances from the Chinese Folk Art Workshop. These performances included traditional dances, a dragon dance and a Chinese yo-yo display.

The dragon dance was titled Celestial Dragon, and was a true crowd-pleaser. During the performance, multiple people held up a giant, glow-in-the-dark, traditional Chinese dragon and moved it so it danced with the music. The vivid colors of the dragon caught the crowd by surprise.

Another crowd favorite was the “Yo-yo Sensation” performance, in which a group of performers did multiple yo-yo tricks. Sophomore Troy Hartmann, who was a fan of the yo-yo performance, said, “I thought the yo-yo performance was really impressive. It looked like it took a lot of technical skill and practice.”      

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