Culture Event - Experiencing Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year culture event was hosted for international students on exchange at College of Management, National Taiwan University on a late November night. The intent of the culture event was to expose exchange students to cultural elements celebrated during Chinese New Year. The hope was for students to have a miniature experience of the upcoming holiday season through hands-on activities.
The night began with a detailed presentation on cultural practices prepared by local students. The presentation covered topics from traditional food items to festive highlights such as the lantern festival. Followed by the presentation were a series of activities at separate booths such as the Chinese yo-yo, Sip-Pa-La (十八仔), and Chinese calligraphy. A few designated local students were assigned at each booth to explain and demonstrate the activities.
At the calligraphy booth, the students began their practices from obtaining a proper brush holding posture. The local students demonstrated with fingers posed dramatically on the brush, as international students attempted to imitate and learn the technique. Then, they dabbed their brushes into ink and began to practice basic strokes - dots and lines. After some practice, they then chose a specific character to practice more on and eventually write it onto a red squared paper to take home.
Meanwhile, the booth across the room was playing Chinese yo-yo, Chinese spinning top and marble games. Yu-Tung Chen demonstrated tricks with the Chinese yo-yo, from basic spins to twists and throws. International students formed a circle around her, gasping and cheering to their amazement. Yvonne came along and demonstrated her talents with the Chinese spinning top. First wrapping the rope around the wooden spinning top, she then tossed and immediately retracting the rope, sending the spinning top into the air and landing on the floor. There was little doubt that her refined skills had been honed since childhood.
The third booth was for Sip-Pa-La - the loud cheers and gasps echoed through the room reminded everyone else of past Chinese New Year’s experiences with relatives. As the dice clanged inside the bowl and finally came to a stop, a loud cheer would follow the initial nervous silence. Finally, there was the mahjong (麻將) table. The organizers had clearly underestimated the international students as they thought the rules would be too complicated and attempted to simplify it. But to their surprise, mahjong posed little challenge for the exchange students and soon the games were on!
It was a night full of cheer and good times as we began to learn little interesting things about each other’s cultures. And if it wasn’t for the time constraints, the event would have surely went pass midnight, just like any family gatherings do during the real Chinese New Year.
This article was written by Yu-Ann Chen (陳昱安), who is a student at the Department of International Business. Contact Office of International Affairs, College of Management for more information.