Chinese Students to Perform, Celebrate Year of the Horse

Students from China currently studying at St. Lawrence University invite the campus and local communities to participate in a Chinese Spring Festival Gala, celebrating the Chinese New Year.

View a photo gallery of the Chinese Spring Festival.

The event, organized by St. Lawrence's Chinese Student Union, will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 in Eben Holden, and will include performances of traditional and modern Chinese music and dancing beginning at 7:30 p.m. A stand-in cutout is also currently on display in the Dana Dining Center, where passersby can take their pictures in what looks like they're wearing traditional Chinese clothing.

“We are excited about the opportunity to support the Chinese Spring Festival,” said Joseph Tolliver, vice president and dean for student life. “The festival is educational, social, multigenerational and finally, just plain fun.”

According to St. Lawrence’s Chinese Student Union members, the Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China.

"It’s a time for families to gather and celebrate good fortune in the coming year," said Yibei Chen '16 of Shanghai. "Families traditionally have a reunion dinner and count down the New Year with China Central TV Gala on Chinese New Year Eve."

Youjia (Grace) Yan '16 of Beijing said the festival is an opportunity to highlight the growing Chinese student population at St. Lawrence, and the Chinese Student Union provides support to one another.

"Our organization is there to help each other adjust to life in the North Country," Grace said. "For example, over the summer, students have to store everything they brought here. Our student union helps them find places to put their belongings."

The Chinese New Year actually took place on Jan. 31, which began the Year of the Horse. In Chinese tradition, people born in the Year of the Horse are believed to be hard working, responsible, optimistic and generous.

“This is a celebration of the cultural diversity of our campus and a great expression of the energy and creativity of our students,” said Karl Schonberg, associate dean for intercultural studies. “It has quickly become a favorite event for our entire campus community and is well on its way to becoming a cherished St. Lawrence tradition.”

At the gala event, there also will be a performance of the erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument, as well as traditional food as well as games, raffles and winning prizes. St. Lawrence President William L. Fox ’75 is also scheduled to attend the celebration.