Year of the BoarGAMBIER, Ohio (February 14, 2007) As families in China gather in anticipation of new year festivities, the Kenyon campus will mark the Chinese New Year with a day of cultural immersion and celebration. Campus events take place on Saturday, February 17, one day before the official beginning of the Year of the Boar.
The campus celebration begins with a cultural demonstration at the Snowden Multicultural Center from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. While two Chinese movies play in the common room, participants can purchase small, inexpensive items from China, admire calligraphy and paper cutouts, or taste delicious traditional foods.
Snowden manager Paige Markham, Class of 2009, is particularly eager to share the calligraphy demonstration. "Each Chinese character is derived from a picture. Within each, you find a struggle, a triumph, or a discovery about how the Chinese view the world's words and their meaning," she says. Markham, who was raised Hawaiian-Chinese, also hopes that the activities will help students to distinguish between Chinese and other Asian cultures.
The main event, starting at 7:00 p.m. in Rosse Hall, features a Chinese fashion show, instrumental performances, readings of Chinese poetry, a hula demonstration, skits, and a discussion of divination and the I-Ching. The evening will also include members of a Columbus arts troupe performing Chinese folk songs, dances from Chinese minority groups, and selections from Chinese operas.
Students who recently studied in China will be on hand to discuss their experiences, as will the residents of Kenyon's Chinese house, a language-immersion residence. Joining them will be Kenyon students and faculty who study Chinese culture, native Chinese students and faculty, and Chinese-born children now living in the Gambier area.
"Usually, the day before the new year is celebrated with family, not community," says Jie Zhang, visiting assistant professor of Chinese. "But here, our community is a family."
--Lauren C. Ostberg, Class of 2007