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  • Writer's pictureJulian Guerrero

Video: Lunar New Year Celebration

Updated: Mar 20

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Last week on Thursday, February 15, Mayfair celebrated the Lunar New Years. The gym was decorated with various banners and other Chinese paraphernalia, a massive spectacle that was certainly memorable, if nothing else. As I arrived with my camera in hand, I was immediately greeted by tables containing presentations related to Chinese culture. As I set up my camera with some initial technical difficulties, my ears could recognize the sound of modern Chinese pop music. Finally, I got the camera to work. As I began filming, I was greeted by Mrs. Luo, who was curious to know where I had come from. I quickly explained myself and had a pleasant little chat before I took her picture (posed with a student of hers) and moved on.

The first exciting thing that I observed there was the cup game. Now, I had never heard of this game before, so when I saw a video come on this monitor she had out, I was quite confused. I heard a lady call out certain actions in Mandarin and the sound of either a clap, a cup hitting the table, or tapping the cup. My confusion continued for a bit before at last it was resolved and I figured out what was going on. I filmed the spectacle for as long as it went on, or at the very least as long as I could justifiably film it, before deciding that I’d got enough footage of it happening and moving on.

The next thing I noticed there, besides the monitor and a table containing many red solo cups upon which the cup game was played, was a table where some masks were located. Sadly, I did not get the opportunity to ask what the purpose of the masks were or what else they were doing at it, though if I had to guess, they were designs of some sort for those who were visiting.

I took some more photos and then decided to take a bit of a break for photographing attendees and collecting opinions. My first group of interviewees were up in the stands. They seemed to have rather non-serious opinions regarding the event, stating that they found it “pretty cool because [they] ate food.” After that, I decided to get some more serious opinions from those presenting. Below are the thoughts of some of the groups I interviewed. Explicit consent was provided to be recorded and published.

Group 1 (Kevin, Richard, Dylan): 

“So like, I feel like, it’s like. Y’know, it’s like a good way to represent the culture… And it’s like the first one so like I feel like it’s a good start to more of these events going forward. (…) It’s different from the Spanish club presentations. (...) It’s a great way to show the culture, and you can see everything that Chinese culture has to offer.”

Group 3 (Adaline [?], Mia):

“Um, well it’s our first time doing it so I think it’s going pretty smoothly and um, I’m excited for the performers. (...) Right, the presentations have been really fun and educational, and we’re really looking forward to the dragon dance and [?] performance that is coming soon.”

Group 10 (Shane Neff):

“Uh, I think it’s pretty interesting how so many students have come to take a look at all our presentations. We put a lot of effort into this and it’s nice to see it all finally pay off.”

Group 7 (Angelo, Sara [?]): “I think this event is really nice, it’s a good representation of Chinese culture in general, and it lists a lot of the traditions that are passed down in China, and I think it’s really fun as well. (...) Yeah, I think this is a great way to show off all the differences, umm… Y’know, like Chinese holidays and like, just overall Chinese culture, um… It’s also fun as well. You kind of like, get a little bit of each, y’know gain some knowledge that you haven’t learned before. I would recommend this for next year as well.”

Certainly some rather optimistic opinions about the celebration had by those involved. They were surprised at how many people showed up, it seems. They were also rather excited, as this was ostensibly the first time many of them had done this.

After I finished taking some more pictures, there came out two ladies with a vu in hand. For the uninitiated, a vu is a traditional two-stringed Chinese instrument that is similar in sound to a violin. Though the traditional material for strings is rattlesnake skin, I could not determine the string material that these two ladies preferred. Their performance was something that I was particularly captivated by. Not so much Ode To Joy, as it’s a piece I have both heard and played to the point of bemusement, but certainly the second piece that they played. I stood and filmed it as close as I could. Sadly, due to audio issues in recording, the footage was useless and my efforts in vain. However, this event was not the main spectacle.

To conclude this event was the dragon dance, the main event for which many labor and practice. Two teams of dragon dancers, many of them my friends, came in holding up a rather long--for lack of a better word--float. Directed by a coach, they did their dance. I was intrigued by how coordinated they could be. How all of this could easily be broken if one person was not on the beat. Yet, they were. I applaud the endurance of the dancers to be able to keep it up for as long as they did, and to be able to do it all again just a few hours later.

All in all, it seems like the celebration of the Lunar New Years’ here at Mayfair was a memorable and successful event.

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