Confucius Institute hosts 2019 Chinese New Years Gala

Contact: Raine Kuch
Confucius students operating dragon.

Confucius Institute students operate giant Chinese Dragon.

The Confucius Institute at Western Michigan University will host a Chinese New Year's gala at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Boar in the Kalamazoo community. The gala is free and open to the public.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is one of the biggest celebrations in China and many Asian countries. WMU's celebration will use performances, games and prize drawings to give attendees a taste of what a new year's festival looks and feels like in China.

Woman operating sound system.The event features live entertainment, including songs, dances, poetry recitals and folk music. Performances are given by Confucius Institute instructors and students in Confucius Institute language programs, as well as teachers from local high schools. These language programs include students from Kalamazoo Central High School, Loy Norrix High School, the Kalamazoo Chinese Academy, Gagie School and Kazoo School.

“The Chinese New Year Gala is a chance to showcase their achievements," said Dr. Ying Zeng, director of the Confucius Institute and director of Asian initiatives at WMU. "In China, the new year is also a time for family and friends to gather. The gala is a chance for family and all of our friends in the community to see the students and their teachers perform and to experience Chinese culture in the process.”

Along with live entertainment, the gala will include activities such as the game of chopsticks. Traditional dishes will be offered at the event to give guests a taste of Chinese cuisine.

Year of the Boar

Female performers twirling parasols.2019 is the Chinese year of the boar, or pig, in the Zodiac cycle. Last appearing in 2007, the boar is the twelfth Zodiac sign in the 12-year-cycle. Zodiac animals are associated with one of the five elements. The 2019 boar is associated with earth, a pairing that occurs every 60 years. The date for the Chinese New Year fluctuates based on the lunar calendar, this year falling on Feb. 5.

The Confucius Institute at WMU

Male and female dancers in traditional dress.A nonprofit organization, the Confucius Institute at WMU is designed to bring an authentic Chinese perspective to the University and the Kalamazoo area. It was established in 2009 through a partnership with Beijing 

Language and Culture University, and is the fourth such institution in Michigan and the 61st founded in the United States.

This on-campus institute is supported with funding from the Hanban that is matched by WMU. In addition, Beijing Language and Culture University annually provides teachers who are trained in teaching Chinese as a foreign language and conducting cultural courses.

 For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.