Duquesne celebrates the Year of the Rabbit

Nicholas Zotos | Social Media/Ads Manager | The Chinese New Year celebration was open to all students wishing to join in the festivities.

Nicholas Zotos | Social Media/Ads Manager

Jan. 26, 2023

The most common Chinese New Year greeting is Xīnnián hăo (新年好), which roughly translates to “New Year Goodness.” Here at Duquesne, students had the opportunity for their own celebration full of goodness for the Lunar New Year.

On Jan. 19, the Asian Student Association (ASA) hosted a celebration to usher in the start of the lunar new year. The festivities included a traditional Chinese dragon dance, karaoke, Asian cuisine and various cultural games.

This event was open to the entire student population, and many individuals from different cultural backgrounds attended.

“I thought this event was super informative. While I am not a member of ASA, I heard everyone was having a good time, and I left another event to come to this one. I saw the festivities and everyone looked so excited,” said Samiya Henry, a physics and engineering major.

Elisha Schoneck, a sophomore physical therapy major and member of ASA, is glad she joined ASA to find new friends.

“I am involved with many diversity clubs at Duquesne. This is one of my favorites due to my ethnicity. I get to meet people with the same experiences as me. I also get to meet people with different opinions,” she said.

Many individuals from other organizations were gathered to enjoy the food and learn about another culture. The event packed the Union Ballroom with over 60 people in attendance.

“It was really nice to participate and learn about Chinese New Year. This event was super unique, and I am really glad I attended,” Henry said.

Perhaps one of the most unique events of the celebration was the lion dance. Also known as a “stalk” in Chinese culture, this event was performed by members of Steel Dragon Kung Fu, a kung fu and martial arts studio based in Pittsburgh.

The dance featured two performers in a dragon costume performing a series of uniquely choreographed movements to celebrate the new year.

This year, the lunar new year marks the beginning of the year of the rabbit.

Chris Young, a leader and the performers’ shifu at Steel City Kung Fu, explained more about the dance his organization performed at the ASA club celebration.

“Each Chinese new year is unique and special in terms of the animal it depicts. Each lion dance is also unique and tells its own story. In this particular dance, the dragon is helping the rabbits share the prosperity of the new year to others,” Young said.

Members of ASA and new students in attendance crowded around the performers to watch the dance. As part of the routine, performers usually throw gifts from the mouth of the dragon, a movement that depicts the sharing of prosperity.

“Many people in China will crowd around the dragon hoping to receive some gifts, but there is so much more to Chinese New Year than gifts. This event is about a new beginning. In our culture, you give elders tea and they usually give you a red envelope with money, but, in reality this symbolizes longevity and a cohesive family,” Young said.

The students also engaged in cultural games hosted by members of the ASA. The festivities included Cham Cham Cham and flag trivia. By participating in the games, students had the opportunity to win prizes, like plush rabbits.

The celebration wouldn’t be complete without Asian cuisine. The ASA served a variety of dishes consisting of rice, chicken and steamed vegetables.
The night served as a unique way for students to bond and learn more about another culture.

Asian Student Association members extend their pride in culture and on-campus change through their organization.

“This event introduces our culture to Duquesne’s student body. I have been in the club since 2020, and when I started, I really wanted to expand this club and continue to enhance our recognition on campus. This event is one of the ways we are continuing to do that,” said Roxanne Kim, psychology major and president of ASA.

Kim is one of the ASA members looking to make a difference on campus. She plans on organizing similar events with the help of the executive board in the future.

Any individuals who are interested in joining the Asian Student Association can request to do so through their Campus Link page. Individuals do not need to be of Asian descent to join.

The lunar new year event concluded with games, karaoke and a raffle for prizes.

“People seemed to have enjoyed themselves. This was a great event and a safe place for all. The games were fun. Ultimately, I liked the event and so did my friends,” Schoneck said.