By: Asata Bamba
With the Great Dover Chinese Association (GDCA) hosting Chinese New Year concerts annually, the organization decided to up the ante this year and make a whole 6-hour long free and open to the public celebration.
On January 31st, from 11 AM to 5 PM, GDCA occupied the Education and Humanities Building (EH) lobby and its theater to accommodate the Chinese New Year celebration.
Dr. Fengshan Liu, Assistant Vice President for International Affairs, spoke on the history of Dover Chinese festivals and expectations for this one.
“In the past we never displayed this kind of interactive program. We only did the theater performance. But this year we have the whole day program. We’ll start with interactive program, drawing, art, professionals from China, displays…this year we’re trying to attract more people. We’re estimating probably 1,200 to 1,500 people today.”
From 11 AM to 2:30 PM, the EH lobby was refurnished from head to toe with Chinese décor. It had tables with arts and crafts, puppets, festive Chinese Peking Opera gowns and other clothing, traditional paper cutting, a market with goods donated from Chinese families, raffle opportunities, a panda mascot, and famous Chinese artists creating live art.
According to Dr. Liu, “The whole goal is to celebrate Chinese New Year and Delaware State University to show the whole community our international activities and culture.”
Chinese exchange students were also utilized to share facts about the culture and some were even in the later concert portion in the theater (which occurred from 3 PM to 5 PM).
Mengqi Wang, a DSU Chinese exchange student stated, “Chinese New Year is on February 8th this year. It is the year of the monkey. So we have monkey Chinese simplified painting and calligraphy here. The paper cutting is very traditional and we do it for the New Year. In China, we put it in the window for fu (good luck).”
For the concert, Keni Zheng and Jared York hosted an evening of acrobatics, singing (featuring DSU’s very own Tianyu Li and Fanlong Meng), dancing from the Henan Arts Troupe in China and local elementary school students from the Sunshing Group at the J. R. McIlvaine Early Childhood Center, instrumentals, and a Beijing Opera.
The Mayor of Dover, Robin R. Christiansen, even came out to support.
“It was really terrific and entertaining. It was nice and special. I will definitely come back next year, even if no one invites me *laughs*.”