Student organizations bring traditional Asian celebration to UConn

 The Chinese Undergraduate Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Association of UConn celebrate the Lunar New Year: Year of the Dog through a variety of traditional and modern cultural performances.(Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

The Chinese Undergraduate Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Association of UConn celebrate the Lunar New Year: Year of the Dog through a variety of traditional and modern cultural performances.(Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

The atmosphere in Rome Ballroom was electrifying as vibrant colors and dynamic performances abounded UConn’s roughly two hour-long Lunar New Year Celebration on Saturday, Feb. 24.

The annual event presented by the Vietnamese Student Association and the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association brought students and residents from the New England community together to celebrate the Year of the Dog.

Lunar New Year, one of the most important holidays celebrated in various countries throughout Asia, marks  a fresh start to a new year with good fortune and guidance.

UConn had numerous performances including vocalist Kimmy Truong of Massachusetts who performed three songs in three different languages (Vietnamese, English and Italian),  an instrumental trio performance by students from the Asian Performing Arts, and a hand-sword performance by students from Ju Long Wushu, a Chinese martial arts training center.

Women from the Asian Performing Arts presented a traditional Manchurian dance from the Qing Dynasty in China. To perform, the women dressed in flower pot shoes, slippers attached to the top of a four-inch wood pedestal wrapped in white cloth; qipaos (pronounced “chee-paow”), lavish dresses made up from satin or silk; topped with fan-shaped headdresses embellished with tassels and flowers.

Kimlee Heng, a sixth-semester business management major, was deeply moved by their performance.

“This is moving,” Heng said. “I don’t know what I was feeling but I was just thinking this is so beautiful. I am pretty sure most, or all, of them have had babies and are the reason for different generations and they were still up there, so beautiful and smiling. It is just very empowering and beautiful to think about.”

The entire room lit up during the Lion Dance performance featuring Hong Tinh Duong Martial Arts. During the performance, big smiles could be seen in every corner of the room, children dancing on the stage and people dangling money, the gift for the lion’s blessing of wealth and good fortune.

“My favorite part was the Lion Dance because it was lively and an interactive show. It was something I’ve never experienced before,” fourth-semester management information systems major Nicole Brown, said.

Some of UConn’s own were also featured in the show, playing traditional Chinese instruments, singing and dancing.

Marlene Abouaassi, fourth-semester molecular and cellular biology major and sociology minor, enjoyed the dance performances that got the room roaring by Dike and the Boiz, a six-person dance group on campus.

“I think they were great and entertaining. I liked their style of dancing and their choice of music,” Abouaassi said.

Children from the OneSky Foundation also entertained with their energetic personalities.

The OneSky Foundation, partnered with UConn’s China Care, works to support orphaned children and lead them to a brighter future.

One of the children from OneSky was very honest when asked why he likes celebrating Lunar New Year.

“Because I get money,” the child said.

It was a little more challenging for Abouaassi, who experienced Lunar New Year celebrations for the first time during the event, to choose her favorite part of the celebration.

“The whole event was my favorite because I was able to get insight of how Lunar New Year is celebrated in the Asian culture and got exposed to other traditions practiced by the Asian community, particularly in China and Vietnam,” Abouaassi said.“It was an amazing experience and if I can do it all over again, I will!”


Jamiah Bennett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at jamiah.bennett@uconn.edu.