By Jianlong Yang
CCBP Student Assistant
A Chinese New Year party to celebrate the Year of the Rooster at the UA Ferguson Center on January 29 drew more than 400 attendees from Chinese and local families and University faculty and staff.
The event was co-sponsored by the Chinese Sisterhood of Tuscaloosa, the UA Division of Community Affairs and two of its affiliated units, the Center for Community-Based Partnerships (CCBP) and Crossroads Community Center. The Sisterhood is composed of both UA students and members of the Tuscaloosa area Chinese community.
“Chinese Sisterhood Tuscaloosa is a 501c-3 nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting heritage, education and community in ways that enable groups from different backgrounds to learn and understand the culture of others,” said Yun Fu, CCBP program coordinator and one of the event organizers.
Sisterhood president Qiaoli Lang, a UA staff member in the chemistry department, said, “We decided to make it bigger and more inclusive this year.”
Guests, who were greeted by signs reading “Happy Spring Festival” in Chinese characters, were served with many traditional homemade Chinese foods of the kind not usually found in commercial Chinese restaurants.
The celebration included a Chinese Dragon Dance, directed by Yan Wang; Kids Fashion Show, directed by Xiao Tong; Thai Chi, directed by Yun Fu; Qipao Fashion Walk, directed by Fu and Qiaoli Liang; Chinese Qipao Dance, directed by Fu; a skit entitled “Beautiful Roster,” directed by Shan Jiang; Kids Musical, directed by Yibing Liu; Chinese Radio Aerobics and a session called Zumba Workout.
Performers and many attendees were dressed in Qipao (traditional women’s attire), Tangzhuang (traditional jacket), and many other traditional Chinese costumes.
Chinese New Year, also known in China as the Spring Festival, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar, a type of calendar whose dates indicate both the moon phase and the time of the solar year.
Every 12 years there is a Rooster year, always after a Monkey year and before a Dog year. The official Chinese New Year began January 28 and will last until February 15, 2018.
The purpose of the celebration is expressed in the traditional phrase “good health, good luck, and much happiness throughout the year.”
Liang said the events provide a way to help Chinese children in the community connect with their culture. The Sisterhood’s Chinese school helps with language courses, because learning a new language is especially difficult as you age.
A special service of CCBP is its Language Partners Program in which University students work with foreign students to teach them English one on one. The program pairs volunteers — most of whom are students working in CCBP — with visiting faculty members and international students who want to improve their English speaking and writing skills, learn more about American culture and become better oriented to the University and Tuscaloosa.
Fu is the program’s coordinator and is currently seeking volunteers. She may be reached at 205-348-7392 or at email@example.com.