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W&M students ring in Chinese New Year

  • Happy Chinese New Year
    Happy Chinese New Year
    W&M students hold traditional Chinese New Year decorations outside the historic Wren Building to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The female students are clothed in Qipao dresses, a traditional one-piece dress that has been worn in China since the 17th century.
    Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Happy Chinese New Year
    Happy Chinese New Year
    Max Rozycki '13 poses in front of a Chinese Knot, a decorative art that is displayed at the New Year for good luck.
    Photo by Philip Jun Fang

Xin Nian Kuai Le!” the Mandarin translation of “Happy New Year!” has been a popular greeting heard around the William & Mary campus recently.

Multiple events to celebrate the new year - or "Year of the Snake" - were held last week, organized by the William & Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI), the Chinese House, the Chinese Student Organization and the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association. 

Students took photographs in the Wren Building dressed in traditional Chinese clothes, and others watched China’s CCTV New Year’s gala at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall. Some students traded in their textbooks for cookware, making dumplings and singing Chinese songs at the residential Chinese House, while others were spotted writing spring couplets at the WMCI and making door signs in calligraphy class to bring good luck in the new year.

A newly designed website with videos and photos was also created to capture and commemorate the events. In total, nine videos were made to introduce the Chinese New Year by featuring W&M students, faculty and staff, alumni and students studying abroad, all of whom shared their experiences of celebrating Chinese New Year in China. 

“We were extremely grateful and happy to have such outstanding participation from the William & Mary community, and people from the wider Williamsburg area in the many events around Chinese New Year,” said Daniel Husman, assistant director of the WMCI. “On behalf of WMCI, I want to wish everyone a happy Year of the Snake!”

But William & Mary’s celebratory events were not limited to Williamsburg. On Feb. 8, China’s CCTV Morning News, a highly watched morning TV news program similar to Good Morning America, aired a story about W&M students studying Chinese and getting ready to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The segment featured three students, Sara Rock, Max Rozycki and Mitchell Butler, speaking in the Wren Building.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, another major Chinese national TV channel, CCTV 3, also broadcast the footage, alongside greetings from U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu and the Embassy of China in the United States. That was followed immediately by the annual, much anticipated New Year's gala TV program, chunwan, watched by approximately one billion people. 

“As one of the country’s leading universities, we embrace and celebrate a variety of cultures,” said Yanfang Tang, director of the William & Mary Confucius Institute. “It’s great to see our students receive international media attention for their dedication to promoting Chinese language and culture at the College."