The Chinese Students and Scholars Association decked out Call Auditorium with red lanterns and traditional snacks to ring in the Year of the Dog.
The Chinese Lunar New Year Gala began with a video of CSSA leaders rapping in Chinese about life as an international student at Cornell. Amber Dance Troupe, Hearsay a cappella and Yamatai performed during the event. A raffle was held for prizes, including a printer, a 49-inch TV and a $500 airfare coupon. American undergraduate language students also presented a comedic skit entirely in Chinese.
CSSA has been hosting the Gala for at least 10 years. In previous years, the show has been held in Willard Straight Hall and Bailey Hall, drawing hundreds of attendees.
According to Fan Jesse Yang ’19, CSSA president, the event is inspired by the China Central Television New Year’s Gala, a New Year’s Eve television broadcast that is a tradition for many Chinese families. Since international Chinese students are not able to be home for the holiday, Yang says he hopes the CSSA Gala will offer some solace.
“The meaning of Spring Festival is to be together with family,” he said. “We want them to feel the warmth of another family here at Cornell.”
The gala also seeks to be inclusive of a broader community. This year, the event was co-hosted by the Korean Students Association and featured performances by members of the undergraduate organizations Hong Kong Student Association and Mainland China Students Association. Chinese and Asian professors and their families were also welcomed to the event.
“We want to emphasize the culture of Cornell,” Yang added.
Jamie Pyo ’19, a performer from the Korean traditional drumming group Shimtah, said she appreciated that the gala included organizations representing all the different countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year.
“It’s a very inclusive event that really tries to bring everyone together,” she said. “Those with Asian heritage can feel at home, and those not familiar with Asian culture will be able to understand and learn more about Lunar New Year.”