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Zilong Zheng (left) cheers with his son Tianxing Zheng (center) and his daughter Tianle Zheng (right) after participating in an onstage game during a Chinese New Years celebration in Baker University Center in Athens, Ohio, on Jan. 29, 2017.  Zheng and his children were among a group of people to volunteer to come up from the crowd and play a Chinese game similar to hacky sack during the celebration’s intermission. (FILE)

Chinese New Year celebration aims to bring students and Athens residents together

Although China is more than 7,000 miles from Ohio, Chinese students and residents in Athens will still be able to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

2018’s Chinese New Year will be the year of the dog, and the holiday reunites families as they wish for good fortune, according to Newsweek

The Chinese Learners Association, the Chinese Cultural Exchange Association and the Chinese Language Student Association will host the annual Chinese New Year gala at Baker Ballroom on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Shiji Zhou, a junior studying integrated media, is the president of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Association, and has celebrated the Chinese New Year at Ohio University for as long as he has been a student.

“There’s a lot to look forward to at this year’s celebration,” he said. “We will be having a main stage where performances are going to take place and then after about two hours of performances, food will be served.”

The food being provided for OU’s Chinese New Year celebration is brought in by uptown Chinese restaurants, including China King.

Bailey Haggis, a junior studying chemistry, attended the gala last year.

“It was super cool, and they had some really good food,” Haggis said. “It was nice seeing a whole bunch of people celebrate this one culture. I’d definitely go again.”

Zoe Zhou, a graduate student studying chemistry, is the academic chair of the Chinese Learners Association and has been tabling for the event.

“So far we’ve sold about 45 to 50 tickets,” she said. “But we still have a few more days to hopefully sell more.”

Chinese New Year is China’s biggest celebration, and the fact that the Chinese students at OU get to host the event is exciting to Shiji.

“The celebration is a way for us to express our culture and share it with the community,” he said. “It’s really cool getting to see students perform talents that they don’t get to show off except during the new year celebration.”

It is also a huge event for Chinese residents of Athens as well.

“For the Chinese families that live here, the fact that the college would host this event is great,” Shiji said. “It gives these families a sense of gratefulness and community that us Chinese students can provide for them.”

The main goal of all the organizations hosting the Chinese New Year celebration is for the event to bring people of all different cultures together.

“Celebrating the Chinese New Year is probably one of the few chances the Chinese students have in sharing their culture here,” Shiji said. “We just hope that everyone will have a good time.”


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