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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Asian culture celebrated during campus event

Lunar New Year holiday at South Campus’ SSTU building Feb. 15 included food, music, dance performances

A traditional lion costume piloted by members of the J.K. Wong Kung Fu Tai Chi Academy parades through the halls of South Campus during its Lunar New Year event. Joel Solis/The Collegian
A traditional lion costume piloted by members of the J.K. Wong Kung Fu Tai Chi Academy parades
through the halls of South Campus during its Lunar New Year event.
Joel Solis/The Collegian

CAMERON WEBSTER
campus editor
cameron.webster@my.tccd.edu

Students and faculty were treated to a Lunar New Year celebration at South Feb. 15 to mark the end of the traditional Asian holiday.

South student activities coordinator Ana Contreras was at the forefront of organizing the event, with cultural accuracy being the most important element.

“First, we made sure to reach out to a traditional lion dance team who understand the significance of the celebration,” Contreras said. “We also included staff members who are Asian and can share a little bit of their culture with us.”

The event featured small workshops where students could experience different parts of the Lunar New Year celebration, with one in particular teaching students about the story of Nian. This creature is thought to be the inspiration for many of the practices — wearing red, playing the drums and setting off fireworks — that take place during the 15 day holiday. 

The main celebration featured was a live performance from the J.K. Wong Kung Fu Tai Chi Academy. Their lion dance team performed martial arts displays to the tune of a beating drum and the clang of cymbals. The team capped off their display with a traditional lion dance, which features two members donning a lion costume and moving about while mimicking a lion’s movements. The lion is said to bring good luck and fortune to those that pet its head.

Owner of the J.K. Wong Academy, Jimmy Wong, helped to host the event and provided insight into some of the history behind the celebration.

Wong spoke about how the lion is an omen for good luck, and the history behind the lion dance and costume was for villagers to scare away evil beasts each new year during the spring harvest.

“We wear yellow and red because it’s colorful, bright and it’s for good luck,” Wong said. “It scares everything away with its red color. No devil will get close to you.”

The head of the lion also features a mirror to show how ugly the beasts appear and reflect their evil away.

One of the staff members consulted by Contreras when planning the event was TR enrollment associate Vivian Lu.

“The Chinese New Year celebration custom has been passed down from generations to generations over many thousand years,” Lu said. “Even though we immigrated to the U.S., we still like to preserve this tradition among us.”

Lu has helped TCC with organizing Chinese New Year celebrations and multicultural events for years. She is glad that her traditions are being appreciated seriously, and accurate representation has taken place in her eyes. Her only regret is that more campuses do not participate in these kinds of celebrations.  

“I also wish every TCC campus would celebrate the Chinese New Year because it is part of the tradition for many Asian countries,” she said. “We do have students originally coming from different Asian countries, or they are the offspring of these countries.”

Lu continued to be optimistic, though.

“As long as our students enjoy it and pass the word of mouth to each other about the event, it serves the purpose,” she said.

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