Dance group Helius presents a dance of "Waiting for you" at the Festival Gala on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2023, in Zoellner Arts Center, Baker Hall. Helius has performed at the event for many years. (Xiaozhe Zhang/B&W Staff)

Spring Festival Gala celebrates the Chinese New Year


The Chinese Student and Scholars Association hosted a show featuring student dances and musical performances to ring in the year of the rabbit.

The Chinese New Year celebration took place on Jan. 27 at Zoellner Arts Center and consisted of 12 acts, each showcasing a unique aspect of Chinese culture.

Jasmine Yu, ‘24, arts and department manager for the association, said the event is a great way for Chinese students to celebrate the new year while being away from home. 

“The Chinese New Year is one of the most important traditions in our culture,” Yu said. “It is so rewarding when I look into the crowd and see people’s smiling faces. That truly means so much to me.” 

One of the performances was a dance titled, “Tang Dynasty,” by Scarlett Chen, ‘24. Yu said the dance was meant to represent the start and end of the great Tang Dynasty. 

Another act was called “Lantern in the Moonlight,” presented by Minna Yang, ‘24. Yu said this performance was meant to represent family and friends reuniting to celebrate their Chinese culture. 

While planning the event, Yu said it was important to make the show feel welcoming and fun for everyone. One way they tried to do this was by making care packages for each of their guests upon entering the festival.

She said all of their hard work seemed to pay off, as they sold more than 300 tickets to the show.

“In the past, it has been mostly Chinese international students at this event, but I wanted to see more diversity in the crowds and even onstage a bit,” Yu said. “I wanted to invite everyone to see what Chinese culture looks like. Culture is something that should be shared with everyone. When a lot of us came to America, we wanted to learn more about American culture, so it was nice to spread a bit of our culture to them.”

Maritza Mones, ‘25, said she attends the event each year. She said supporting this celebration of Chinese culture has exposed her to different traditions.

She said she also enjoys the expression of culture through the arts.

“I love watching the different cultures on campus that aren’t represented anywhere else get to express themselves and show Lehigh’s community a part of their tradition,” Mones said.

Yu said planning and preparing for the show was a lot of work. She said she spent months working with Zoellner, overseeing lighting, sound, audio and the scheduling of each performer and staff member. 

Max Li, ‘23, president of the association, said the most challenging part of hosting big events like this one is the funding process, since Zoellner needs to be reserved more than half a year prior to the event. 

He said the association was able to raise money and promote the event by getting in contact with the Office of International Student Scholars, Global Union and Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“I am grateful for all the support from the school, from different people, but since Zoellner is technically not Lehigh property, it is very expensive,” Li said. “It is hard for clubs to hold events there. For example, this year the total cost was $6,000, which is a lot for us to handle.”

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