What started out as a mere idea two months ago came to fruition as the first Chinese New Year celebration was held in the town of Orange. On February 20th, almost 400 members of the community came together to ring in the Year of the Monkey. Dressed in traditional Chinese garb, they gathered to watch students and adults alike perform to Chinese songs and to enjoy classic Chinese foods.
The Chinese New Year Festival is the biggest celebration of the year to usher in wealth, abundance, and happiness. Lanterns and words of prosperity decorated the gym of the Community Center, giving off an authentic feel to the experience. Organizers of the community believe that the event was the first step to promote multiculturalism in the region, so that different nationalities can learn about each other and be exposed to Asian heritage.
The night concluded with a total of 14 performances comprising of dances, songs, kungfu, and classic Chinese instrument. Performances included the artistic “Dui-Hua” dance by children of Orange’s elementary schools, powerful martial-arts exhibits by the students of the Wu Dang Kungfu Academy, gracefully choreographed pieces from the Mulan Art School and Butterfly dancing troop and the Yale Chinese Chorus.
It was a great event to celebrate Asian cultures and to bring to light the growing Asian community within Orange. Attendance was maxed within weeks, but organizers hope in the future that they would be able to plan for a bigger venue and bring more attraction to the event. According to Zehua Xia and Ying Peng, program coordinators, the event was not limited only to those in Orange. “Families from all over Connecticut wanted to come. We were setting an example for many other towns, but we just didn’t have enough room to accommodate them all!” The entire event was a great success – hopefully the first of many more to come.
Pictured: “Dui-Hua” dance by children of Orange’s elementary schools
By Jennifer Zhuang