Three Chinese Students and Scholars Associations celebrate Chinese New Year at Cal State Fullerton

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(Katie Albertson / Daily Titan)

Red balloons and paper lanterns decorated the Titan Theatre on Friday afternoon as Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) chapters from Irvine Valley College, Orange Coast College and Cal State Fullerton came together to usher in the Year of the Dog.

Being away from family during a celebration as important as the Chinese New Year festival isn’t easy, but events like this and families like CSSA make it seem as if they are celebrating with their loved ones in China, said Amy Gong, president of the Irvine Valley College CSSA chapter.

“Most of us are international students from China. A lot of us are away from home and family,” Gong said.

Chinese traditions are meant for big gatherings and the chapters of CSSA work together to put on the event to allow for a stronger sense of unity, said senior Chloe Cao, the vice president of the CSUF CSSA chapter.

“You can feel it (in the) environment because we’re all together,” Cao said.

Filled with musical performances, a comedy act and red envelopes filled with money, the celebration allowed Chinese students to take part in Chinese traditions with a family they created in the United States.  

Because Chinese culture follows the lunar calendar, on the solar calendar the Chinese New Year fell on Feb. 16 this year. But wanting to celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival, which is held on March 2, the CSSA chapters chose a day in between both celebrations.

Though the afternoon was a celebration of Chinese culture, the performances spanned a variety of genres.

The Hot Sound Band from UC Irvine was the opening act, performing rock songs in both Mandarin and English. A cover of “Disenchanted” by My Chemical Romance echoed through the theater, followed by “Wherever You Are” by ONE OK ROCK, which also featured bilingual lyrics.

Dressed in a long gown and floral crown, Ruinan Gong took the stage to play a musical piece using a guzheng, an ancient Chinese plucked string instrument. Kent Fei, the secretary and treasurer for CSUF’s CSSA, joined Ruinan Gong to perform tai chi while she played.

There was also a comedy act performed by the duo Mr. Liu and Mr. Wang and a hip-hop performance by Rinyo.

Students from UC Irvine also took part in the festivities. A dance group nicknamed “Little Sisters,” a flutist and clarinetist performed, adding musical variety to the show.

The final performance featured CSSA members singing “Wo Bu Yuan Rang Ni Yi Ge Ren” or “I Don’t Want You to Be Alone.” Audience members said the song resonated with them as flashlights were held in the air swaying left to right.

In one evening, the CSSA chapters presented the CSUF community with an authentic depiction of the Chinese culture, Cao said.

“We wanted to bring everyone together and make them feel at home,” Amy Gong said.

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