The bright red lanterns decorating the stairwell on the walk down to the Lower Level of the John A. Barone Campus Center brought light and good luck to the celebration saying goodbye to the year of the dog and hello to the year of the pig at the Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration on Feb. 1.

The festivities began with a welcoming, as Xinyi Chen, a graduate student at the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, introduced the event sponsors as both the Asian Students Association and the Chinese Graduate Students Association. She directed us toward the food: spring rolls, dumplings, fish and various other traditional goodies. As people talked and shared plans for their actual Chinese New Year celebrations for the coming Tuesday, Feb. 5, this evening just acted as a way to connect with the fellow celebrators Fairfield University had to offer.

Chen ended her opening as a flurry of color suddenly enveloped the space. A group of young dancers ran onto the floor dressed in blue, purple and yellow silks, sticks held in hand as the body of a red and gold dragon danced overhead, the colors symbolizing the good luck they wish for the coming year. The dragon had big, wide eyes and a mouth opened in spirit. It’s body wrapping viewer’s into its magic as it traveled along the room.

The performance continued as dancers flew across the stage in different acts. Swords swung and whips cracked, a painter delicately painted a scene on stage as people of differing ages dressed in white moved their limbs gracefully across the air and more dragons with large blinking eyes came to welcome in the New Year.

The event ended with the welcoming of the New Year baby, an adorable young child dressed in traditional garb who presented each attendee with a lucky pig decorated envelope. Hugs, kisses and goodbyes came as the celebration arrived at a close.

It is celebrations and traditions like this that make you appreciate the diversity Fairfield has to offer. Though many of us may celebrate our New Year in the same way, at the end of December with champagne, good tidings and the reveling chorus Auld Lang Syne, there are opportunities at every corner to appreciate celebrations and take a step into their welcoming atmosphere.

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