Over 400 Harvard students and community members flocked into Quincy Dining Hall on Friday night for a traditional Chinese New Year celebration, complete with a 12-course banquet and entertainment.
The annual celebration was organized by the Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association, and included performances by the Asian-American Dance Troupe, the Harvard Breakers, and the Harvard Din and Tonics.
Students who attended the event said they felt that it was a good venue for members of the community to celebrate the New Year in a meaningful and festive way.
“Since I couldn’t spend Chinese New Year with my family, I felt like this would be the perfect way to feel closer to home.” said attendee Connie M. Hsu ’16.
Presidents of HRCSA Lynelle T. Chen ’14 and Eric Y. H. Chung ’14 kicked off the event by welcoming guests into the Year of the Snake.
Throughout the night servers brought out many courses of Chinese food, including Bang Bang Chicken, Ma Po Tofu, Gan Bian String Beans, and mountains of white steamed rice.
But for students, the importance of the event went beyond the food and entertainment.
“Chinese New Year means bonding with all of my friends and gaining a deeper understanding of a culture that I very much consider a part of me,” Francisco X. Galdos ’15 said.
Following the first few courses, the Harvard Din and Tonics solicited many laughs with three singing routines, concluding with their hit “I Fell In Love with a McDonald’s Girl.”
Reylon A. Yount ’16, who performed a traditional Chinese instrument called the yangqin for the group, said that he found performing at this event especially meaningful.
“It was an honor to play for such an energetic audience,” Yount said. “It’s always wonderful to play at events like this, but the fact that it was a Chinese New Year’s banquet made it particularly special.”
During the final performance of the night two performers came on stage in a two-man lion costume and proceeded to throw oranges and lettuce leaves into the crowd. Attendee Jennifer Leung ’16 praised the final performance, saying that it “was exemplary of Chinese traditional culture,” and “energizing and lively.”
The event ended by honoring graduating seniors who have served on the HRCSA board in the past by recognizing them with a rose on stage.
Julia Hu ’13, who received a rose, said that the celebration “brought back great memories of my time on board.”
“I’m sure it will be the first of many events that will remind me that we’re really graduating,” she added.
Overall, organizers agreed that the event was a success in celebrating Chinese culture and heralding the Year of the Snake. Chung wrote in an email statement, “It can sometimes be a mad dash to the finish, but it is worth it every year when we realize how much Banquet has engaged our community and when we hear about how much our attendees have enjoyed the event.”