Chinese students welcome year of the tiger in CSSA

Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated on Feb. 1, introducing the year of the tiger. Photo courtesy of AP

By Sarah Wang | Reporter

The Chinese Student and Scholar Association is an organization formed to provide a platform for young people who strive to foster leadership among Chinese students in universities.

With an aim to help students forge enjoyable relationships and vivid college experiences, CSSA is devoted to helping its Chinese students with both academic and daily affairs. It builds bridges of connection between the Chinese and western cultures by planning for diverse activities that can spread its customs and practices — the same purpose for which it is launching the Lunar New Year Festival celebration, according to its introduction in Connect.

According to the Chinese calendar, the Chinese people are welcoming the year of the tiger, which is the third of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs.

Meixi Tao, the president of Baylor CSSA, said the purpose of their Lunar New Year Festival event is both to make Waco’s Chinese population feel at home and to familiarize more people with the Chinese culture.

“Lunar New Year Festival is a similar festival as Thanksgiving in the United States,” Tao said. “It is a time for Chinese families to gather and spend time with each other. Meanwhile, CSSA would like to let more people know about the Chinese culture and to let them participate in our celebration because it will be a meaningful and memorable experience.”

The detailed planning is thanks to CSSA Arts — the department of literature and art that functions to provide event planning, dance, sports, drawing, design and stage art services to Chinese students.

For the Lunar New Year Festival celebration, CSSA Arts has prepared all types of advertisements to draw potential audiences, primarily but not exclusive to Waco’s Chinese population. It will be hosting a diverse, culturally enriched activity toward a culturally mixed audience, according to its posts about the event on its Instagram.

“This is a good opportunity for international communication, which creates an opportunity for Baylor students to make friends and exchange different cultures wonderfully,” Xiaoyi Zhang, the CSSA Arts chair and the general director of the Lunar New Year event, said. “We will be providing all kinds of splendid performances, culture booths, traditional Chinese dishes, spring festival presents, raffle and games.”

Zhang said one of the performances that the audience should not miss is the Han Dynasty Traditional Clothing Fashion Show. The Chinese students will dress in those traditionally styled clothes and replicate the manners of the ancient people in that dynasty. Moreover, audiences can get a more comprehensive view of this traditional attire with a real-world demonstration.

In addition to the diversity the Lunar New Year event presents and the collision of cultures it brings about, hosting such a traditional celebration of other countries’ cultures on an American campus makes Baylor a diverse university that enthusiastically embraces all cultures, according to Tao.

“It is a good way to motivate other international organizations who want to hold large-scale events to fully showcase their own cultures,” Tao said.

Tao said CSSA members are now busy with the final rehearsals in order to carry out the event, and they practice more than once a day in this final week.

“We definitely want to showcase the fantastic Chinese culture through this opportunity; we are desperate to give our all,” Tao said.