By Emily Ballard
The Year of the Horse might appear to be a curse for the Denver Broncos, but that will not stop students and residents of the Waco area from celebrating the Chinese New Year this week.
This past Friday marked the end of January on the Gregorian Calendar and the beginning of the Chinese New Year. To ring in the New Year, Baylor’s Asian Students Association will treat students and Waco residents to an evening of Asian-inspired activities and food at 7 p.m. Thursday in Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center.
The event’s co-host, Baylor Activities Council, has worked with the association to plan the ninth annual event. New games and activities will be introduced this year.
Houston senior Angeline Nguyen, president of club, said the event will include fortune telling, a photo booth and various games such as rice-racing, in which a group of people compete to pick up the most amount of rice with chopsticks in a short amount of time. Everyone in attendance is welcome to Asian-inspired food catered by Panda Express, Nguyen said.
The event is free and open to the public.
Two short productions will explain the cycle and animal pattern of the Chinese New Year, said Taipei, Taiwan senior and social chair of association, Cindy Liu. Participants will also learn about the role of the color red and firecrackers in the Chinese New Year.
According to Chinese legend, a monster called “Year” would attack a town on the eve of every Chinese New Year, Liu said, but the color red and firecrackers drove the monster away.
“The dragon is symbolic of a monster,” Liu said.
Participants will receive tickets when they enter Barfield and can put their tickets toward the chance to win prizes, including Asian snacks and T-shirts, Nguyen said.
Liu expressed her excitement for welcoming back to Baylor members from JK Wong Kung Fu Tai Chi Academy from Richardson to perform a traditional lion dance as well as martial arts. At Baylor’s 2013 Chinese New Year celebration, JK Wong professionals executed complicated moves while holding and juggling various weapons.
“It was completely safe,” Liu said in reference to past performances.
The Vietnamese Student Association has teamed up with Asian Students Association to give participants a glimpse into traditional Chinese New Year as celebrated by Vietnamese people with a game of luck in which participants can place a bet on their cards being selected.
With the many activities, shows and food to enjoy, the event will be set up similar to an Asian market, Nguyen said.
According to chinesenewyears.info, vendors set up stands along lantern-lit streets to sell decorations, food, clothing and firecrackers as part of the 15-day Chinese New Years celebration in Asian countries.
“Chinese New Year is celebrated by many Asian countries, not just China,” Nguyen said.
Liu said ASA’s goal is to give Chinese New Year celebration an authentic experience of Asian culture.
“We are trying to bring the marketplace environment into Baylor,” she said.
ASA encourages Baylor students and faculty to bring whomever to the event. Liu said in past years, people from outside of Waco made the trip to Baylor for the Chinese New Year celebration.
“I really like Chinese New Year at Baylor because it’s such a family event,” Liu said.