News Archive

Randolph Celebrates Chinese New Year

Various events on campus provide cultural learning opportunities for community

1/19/2009 10:46:51 AM


LYNCHBURG – When An Kun and Tina Johnson heard about a Chinese New Year musical performance with Randolph professors and students scheduled in January, they couldn’t believe their luck. What better way to introduce a group of students planning to travel to China in the summer to culture than to give them a first-hand taste of a celebration of The Year of the Ox.

The students are taking part in an International Study Seminar to China in May that will focus on Chinese society in the global economy.

“The trip in May is a chance for our students to compare and contrast modern Chinese culture with traditional Chinese culture,” said An Kun, assistant professor of Asian Studies.

Cultural opportunities to help engage students before they leave for China are important, added Johnson, director of International Programs. “We try to help them make connections with a cross disciplinary approach,” she said.

During a series of January events, students will have the added benefit of learning more about Chinese culture and the celebration of Chinese New Year.

On Jan. 24, at 3 p.m. in the Wimberley Recital Hall, Randolph will offer an afternoon of traditional Chinese music and folk song. Participants include Emily Yap Chua, a music professor at Randolph, several students, and special guests Adrienne Chu on violin and Yap Siong Chua, playing dizi and erhu.

In addition, Randolph will feature traditional Chinese decorations and food during lunch in the college’s dining hall on Jan. 26.

And on Jan. 27, one of the world’s leading scholars of Pearl S. Buck `14, Liu Haiping, will return to campus to present the special Quillian Public Lecture, “China in Rapid Transition: A Scholar’s View from Within.” Liu served as a visiting professor on campus in 2000. His lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Alice Ashley Jack Lounge.

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese celebrate the holiday with a time of feasting, fireworks, and gift-giving. The 15-day holiday begins on the first day of a new moon and ends with the full moon on the day of the Lantern Festival. This year, Jan. 26 ushers in the Chinese Year 4707. The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year and follows a 12-year pattern with each year named after an animal. There are various stories which explain this. The simplest is that Buddha (or the Jade Emperor) invited all of the animals to join him for a New Year celebration, but only 12 animals turned up. To reward the animals that did come, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived, starting with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations