Penn State Harrisburg

Cultural celebration brings China to Penn State Harrisburg

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

While driving to work, the Chinese verse “It is on festival occasions that one misses home the most” came to Anna Wei Marshall’s mind. As a Chinese native residing in Harrisburg, the quotation by Wang Wei, a Tang Dynasty poet, holds a special meaning to the Penn State Harrisburg Chinese language instructor – a meaning now reflected in her students’ most current project – setting up a Chinese New Year celebration at the college.

Open to the public, the event will take place Friday, Feb. 1, in the Capital Union Building Student Center (Room 210) at 7:00 p.m.

Chinese New Year is an annual celebration, held in January or February, to mark the start of a new year and the beginning of spring according to the lunar calendar.

“I enjoy organizing this type of event as it can inspire the students to learn the Chinese language; it helps overseas Asian students feel less homesickness while they’re thousands of miles away from home; and most of all, it celebrates and brings people of different backgrounds together,” Marshall said.

By involving students in the event’s planning and performances, the project tests students’ Chinese skills and shares the cultural importance of China’s largest celebration. It also brings a little piece of home to the college’s Chinese students – the largest and fastest growing international demographic group on campus.

“This celebration not only helps share the Chinese culture with the students of this campus, but helps those who are studying here from China and other various Asian countries to feel more at home,” said business administration student Jennifer Chan, one of the event’s two student emcees.

With the support of students in the Chinese I and III classes, the college’s Chinese Students Association, and the Penn State Harrisburg School of Humanities, traditional Chinese performances have been slated for the celebration, including folk music, poetry recitals, skits, a martial arts demonstration, and a lion dance. Students and members of the local Chinese community will perform.

“I sincerely hope that this celebration will draw many people in – international students, native speakers, and the curious alike” said Kapaun, a communications major, also an emcee. “It [the event] will celebrate the traditions of a rich cultural tapestry while creating new traditions, experiences, and understanding for the audience.”

The full event line-up includes:

  1. Lion Dance – Jose Johnson (Chinese Martial Arts and Wellness Center)
  2. Poetry recital – Penn State Harrisburg Chinese I class and children from the Chinese community
  3. Guitar and song – Yining Zhang (Penn State Harrisburg student)
  4. Chinese song “East Wind Breaks” – Joshua Marengo and Jingyi Li (Penn State Harrisburg students)
  5. Chinese dance “Peach Fairies” – Yijin Wert, director and instructor; performance by The Sunshine Dance Club
  6. Saxophone – Yuhao Chen (Penn State Harrisburg student)
  7. Chinese skit “Weather” – Penn State Harrisburg Chinese III class
  8. Martial arts demonstration – Jose Johnson (Chinese Martial Arts and Wellness Center) and students
  9. Chinese song “Olive Tree” – Brian Kapaun (Penn State Harrisburg student)
  10. Classical Chinese instrument: Erhu – Yi Zhou (Penn State Harrisburg student)
  11. Chinese folk song “Ode to the Good Earth” – Suping Chen (teacher from Little Star Chinese School)
  12. Ancient Chinese instrument: Gu Zhen – Shen Gu (Penn State Harrisburg student)
  13. Chinese classic dance “Kang Ding Love Song” – Yijin Wert, director and instructor; performance by The Sunshine Dance Club