Excited voices and laughter reverberated off of the walls and ceilings of Jack Adams Hall. The aromatic scent of Chinese food wafted through the room and each table was covered in a bright red tablecloth and scattered with colorful confetti and Chinese candy. A feeling of warmth filled the room as a mix of students, faculty and guests shook hands, told jokes and wished each other luck and good fortune in the New Year.
The event, co-sponsored by the Chinese Program, the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Flagship Program, aims to serve as a platform to bring the SF State community together and educate students about Chinese culture, heritage and language.
The celebration is held annually to showcase acts by students enrolled in several of the Chinese classes offered
on campus and aims to build a sense of community around one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture.
“It’s loud and colorful and exciting,” Chinese Flagship Coordinator Miranda Ko. “We put a lot of effort into this, especially the students and the instructors.”
“We want our students to understand the cultural value of Chinese New Year,” said Chinese language professor and Director of Strategic Language Initiative Chris Wen-Chao Li. “It’s something that the Chinese take very seriously, it’s kind of like Christmas time for Americans, so we want
(our students) to see how to celebrate it.”
The celebration included Chinese poetry recitals, songs, skits and student Dallas Taylor performing a song on the traditional Chinese zither, a seven-stringed wooden instrument that has been used in Chinese music for nearly 3,000 years.
Graduate students Sam Triplett and Hannah Baker hosted the event in both English and Chinese and conducted a raffle at the end of the event.
“Lucky draws and raffles are very typical in Chinese cultural events,” said Ko. “We love to do this, and I think it makes everyone feel more involved.”
The celebration was originally held in a small classroom in the Humanities Building, according to Li, but has since gained so much popularity that it is now held in Jack Adams Hall, a large theatre on the top floor of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
The celebration garners a diverse audience from all generations, including alumni, students, family members and faculty including President Leslie E. Wong.
“It’s good to see students come out and participate and celebrate together,” said kinesiology major Gordon Lam. “It brings awareness and shows that people still celebrate tradition.”
“Chinese New Year marks a beginning, everything starts fresh… and it’s a way for families to get together,” said Ko. “Family is very important in Chinese culture and in this event, our family is the students. It’s a great way to bring people together.”
United by a time-honored and rich culture, the attendees of the festivities continued to socialize well after the event was over, bringing in the New Year with geniality and a refined understanding of Chinese tradition.