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Chinese New Year Celebration at UB: Confucius Institute and Chinese Club to Welcome Lunar New Year

Buffalo, NY – The talent of Western New Yorkers of all ages will be on display on February 9 in the Center for the Arts on UB’s North Campus as people of Chinese heritage and many other cultural backgrounds come together to welcome the lunar new year.

The free public celebration, filled with Chinese music, dance, and martial arts, begins at 2:30pm in the Center for the Arts Mainstage Theater.

The popular annual event will feature student and adult groups affiliated with the Chinese Club of Western New York (CC-WNY) and the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute, as well as acrobatic lion and dragon dances performed by students from Gold Summit Martial Arts Institute and presentation of the UB Confucius Institute Awards for Excellence in Chinese Language Learning.

This will be the ninth year in a row that the Confucius Institute and CC-WNY have joined together to present a Chinese New Year celebration in the Mainstage Theater.

The celebration at UB comes a few days after the actual arrival of the lunar new year on February 5. One of 12 different animals represents each of the calendar’s annual cycles, with 2019 being the Year of the Pig.

Chinese people have many customs surrounding the lunar new year, also known as the Spring Festival. Among these traditions, families gather for a large New Year’s Eve meal; children receive gifts of money in red envelopes; and doors are decorated with couplets and signs wishing visitors happiness and good fortune (fu). Fireworks are often part of the celebration. In mainland China, many people watch the Spring Festival Gala on CCTV, a variety show featuring music, dance, martial arts, comedy, and other performance styles.

At UB, approximately 250 performers will take the stage during the February 9 program that will incorporate traditional and contemporary elements of Chinese culture. While many of the performers have been involved in Chinese arts their entire lives, others are Chinese language students in local schools who are learning Chinese performing arts for the first time.

“The students in local Chinese language programs supported by the Confucius Institute do a fantastic job onstage at this celebration. It’s very rewarding to see them engaged in learning not only language, but also Chinese performing arts,” says Zhiqiang Liu, UB professor of economics and director of the Confucius Institute. “And obviously there is tremendous talent and pride among the Chinese community. This event is special because it brings Chinese and non-Chinese people together for a wonderful celebration to showcase their talents and renew friendships.”

In addition to the lion and dragon dances, performances will include energetic dancing by elementary-age children, dynamic contemporary dances by middle school and high school groups, and sophisticated performances by adult musicians and dancers, interspersed with choral groups of many different ages and Chinese language backgrounds.

“The Chinese Club is pleased to be partnering once again with the Confucius Institute on the 2019 Chinese New Year celebration,” says Zhen Liu, CC-WNY president. “In the past two years we also extended our culture programs from the big stage to face-to-face engagement. Our mid-autumn festival, for example offered all participants the opportunity to make mooncakes and dumplings, in addition to trying Chinese painting, calligraphy, and other arts.”

This joint Chinese New Year celebration and many other Confucius Institute and CC-WNY events throughout the year provide valuable opportunities for Western New Yorkers to come together to engage with Chinese culture and learn about China past and present.