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Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University Successfully Held the 2017 Chinese New Year Celebration

February 4th, 2017 (Reporter: Ming Chen) 

In the afternoon of February 4, the 2017 Chinese New Year Celebration, organized by Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University (CISBU), was successfully held at the Wang Center in Stony Brook University. The celebration consisted of three parts: first, there was an exhibition area in the lobby of the Wang Center showcasing arts and crafts from China, Korea, Japan and other Asian countries such as Chinese calligraphy, Chinese painting, paper cutting, etc. By bringing various Asian cultures together, the exhibition/workshop fully embodies the acculturation of cultures in America and among Americans of diverse backgrounds; second, from 3–5pm, our CI staged a wonderful audio-visual feast with dozens of spectacular performances in the Wang Center Theater; last but not least, the audience enjoyed a delicious meal, symbolizing the reunion dinner on the second floor of Wang Center after the performance to conclude a full afternoon of festivities. The whole building was elaborately decorated with New Year ornaments, filling the building with a warm atmosphere of the Spring Festival.

Theater entrance where our CI and Wang Center check-in the audience

Photo: Theater entrance where our CI and Wang Center check-in the audience. 

Artist Mr. Tianzhou Zhao demonstrating the art of Chinese painting by illustrating a rooster

Photo: Artist Mr. Tianzhou Zhao demonstrating the art of Chinese painting by illustrating a rooster.

By 3pm, the Wang Center Theater was packed with people. The performance began with a grand opening by Shaolin Kung Fu’s spectacular lion dance. The colorful “lions” danced among the audience, amusing them with their playful actions and as a result ignited an instant celebratory and joyful atmosphere. The opening act was followed by our CI American Director, Dr. Tan’s warm welcome to our guests of honor and the audience. He invited our Vice Provost of Global Affairs, Dr. Jun Liu to the stage to give the opening remarks for the event. Dr. Liu first expressed his appreciation to President Samuel L. Stanley and Provost Michael Bernstein’s support for our CI and the guidance from the CI Advisory Board. After acknowledging our guests from the University of Macau, Prof. Da Hsuan Feng, special advisor to the rector and the director of Global Affairs and Prof. Zikang Tang, Dr. Liu introduced the importance of Lunar New Year and the impending arrival of Spring as the Rooster strode into 2017. As he emphasized the uniqueness of Stony Brook University’s multi-cultural academic environment and its celebration of diversity, Dr. Liu wishes everyone a happy new year in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. On that note, the celebration began.

Full house in the Wang Center Theater

Photo: Full house in the Wang Center Theater

Shaolin Kungfu performs the Lion Dance

Photo: Shaolin Kungfu performs the Lion Dance

Dr. Tan, the CI American Director giving the introductory remarks

Photo: Dr. Tan, the CI American Director giving the introductory remarks

Dr. Jun Liu, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Dean for International Academic Programs sharing with the audience the significance of Chinese New Year

Photo: Dr. Jun Liu, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Dean for International Academic Programs sharing with the audience the significance of Chinese New Year.

Both of the emcees for the event are American citizens. They are our very own students from of our Confucius Institute Chinese classes. One of them, Ashley Brown, an African American student from Long Island also attended our partner university Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (ZUEL) for a year to learn Chinese. Together with the other emcee, Kevin Henderson, Ashley threaded the individual performances together with fluent Mandarin and English while cracking jokes in Mandarin from time to time throughout the two hours. Their participation and language capability reflected the multicultural environment of Stony Brook University and the acculturation of both international and local Long Island communities as a two-way exchange of cultures.

Emcees Ashley Brown and Kevin Henderson hosting the celebration in fluent Mandarin and English

Photo: Emcees Ashley Brown and Kevin Henderson hosting the celebration in fluent Mandarin and English.

The Chinese New Year celebration was filled with attention grabbing professional performances. Dozens of young and old performers from New York City, Flushing and other parts of Long Island participated in this spectacular show. The Chinese folk songs, “Me and My Motherland” as well as ”Missing Jiangnan”, brought by the famous singer, Mrs. Lingyan Zhou, showcased the marvelous beauty of China. The beautiful ladies from Long Island Chinese Dance Group, with their soft and elegant choreography, demonstrated the unique charm of the ancient oriental world. Wanru Lin and other three dancers did the handkerchief dance and the peacock dance, which was an exquisite interpretation of the two different dancing styles in Northern and Southern China. FJ Group performed a unique version of "Jasmine Flower" with their professional skills of erhu and Chinese lute, perfectly combining the classical Chinese and modern Western musical styles. The “Clapper Talk” brought by the Harbor Country Day School students was full of fun. "Jasmine Flower" and "Farewell" performed by the Children’s Choir was beautiful and ethereal. The Sing and Song Group showed the charm of Peking Opera with a modern twist, by transforming it into popular tune. The Sichuan Opera face-change performed by Mr. Peng Li brought the atmosphere to a climax; he won constant applause with his blink of the eye face-changing trick. His performance combined Chinese culture with Western life, when the masks of Barrack Obama and George W. Bush appeared on among the many faces he switched to throughout his show. The Magician, Mr. Martin's unpredictable magic tricks brought much fun to the audience as he engaged directly with the audience. As intermissions, there were three rounds of raffle between the performances where a total of 25 prizes were given out. Finally, with the beautiful melody of "Unforgettable Tonight", the show came to a successful ending. Different from the past, the Chinese New Year party of this year fully embodied the acculturation of diverse cultures shared among various communities on Long Island on and off campus.

Lingyan Zhou

Photo: Singer Lingyan Zhou performing “Missing Jiangnan”, accompanied by the Long Island Chinese Dance Group

HCDS

Photo: Children’s Choir from Harbor Country Day School singing “Jasmine Flower”

Mr. Peng Li performing Sichuan Opera Face-change

Photo: Mr. Peng Li performing Sichuan Opera Face-change

Wanru Lin and other three dancers performing the Peacock Dance

Photo: Wanru Lin and other three dancers performing the Peacock Dance

Professor Da Hsuan Feng, Director of Global Affairs at the University of Macau presenting the second prize to the lucky winner.

Photo: Professor Da Hsuan Feng, Director of Global Affairs at the University of Macau presenting the second prize to the lucky winner.

The full afternoon celebration concluded with a Chinese New Year Reunion dinner where friends and family came together to eat and catch up with each other. Our Confucius Institute prepared an impeccable gourmet feast for the audience. Dozens of exquisite dishes dazzled the event-goers, fully embodying the profound Chinese food culture. Our guests happily indulged in the delicious cuisines while chatting a laugh in the company of family, new and old friends.

Guests standing in line for a buffet of delightful Chinese cuisine offered by the Confucius Institute

Photo: Guests standing in line for a buffet of delightful Chinese cuisine offered by the Confucius Institute.

A group photo with distinguished guests, performers and staff members

Photo: A group photo with distinguished guests, performers and staff members

This Chinese New Year Celebration presented by Confucius Institute at SBU fully demonstrated the acculturation among different cultures, a two-way acculturation that involves Americans of different background coming together to learn about Chinese language and cultures while Chinese in America adapting to American lifestyles. On the one hand, the American audience has successfully experienced the profound and long history of Chinese culture. On the other hand, Chinese people living in the United States have come to appreciate the American life and culture. This event has also successfully bridged the multi-cultural exchanges: it not only allowed Americans to view China from a different prospective, but also displayed a different America. The Chinese New Year celebration is a microcosm of the world's multicultural communication, conveying the great wishes to build a harmonious culture.

2017 Chinese New Year Celebration Poster

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