By Bingqing Mao
The Meridian Times
Audiences enjoyed a visual feast at the Greater Lansing Chinese New Year Celebration Gala Feb. 21 at Meridian Mall.
The Lion and dragon parade throughout Meridian Mall began at 1:30 p.m. and attracted most people’s attention. Many passersby followed the lion and dragon off the stage, watching the performance by people from different religions, ages and countries.
Lisa Johnson and Jack Johnson are a couple who adopted a girl from China. This is the second time they came to the show, for they wanted to know more about Chinese culture. Jack Johnson said that he liked the lion and dragon dance best because it was vivid.
Lisa Johnson said,“It is really amazing! The culture is so beautiful, even drinking tea is so elegant. I love Chinese culture so much.”
Joseph Dever, a father who came to the show with his daughter, said, “My daughter loves watching fashion show. The dress is traditional and elegant and we would not see these in magazines. ”
Totaq Chaiq whose ancestral home is Taiwan said that even though most programs are fantastic, especially the group song “Happy New Year” and the fashion show, there was still something needing to improve.
“Qipao (a Chinese-style woman’s dress with a high neck and slit skirt) is beautiful, but it is Manchu, Huqin (a musical instrument) is also not Han but Hu (the northern barbarian tribes in ancient China). They are not really Chinese traditional cultures,” he said. “The selection of music is also not perfect. ‘My Hometown is the Other Side of the Mountain’ and ‘The Spring River Flows East’ are very representative Chinese songs, maybe in the future singers can sing them.”
Qing Fan, the solo soprano, sang three songs: “Mother”, “Sear Lover Washing Clothes in the river” and “Nessun Drma”.
“I choose ‘Mother’ to express the thoughts of mother. We are all far away from our homeland and missing families a lot,” Fan said. “My friends made a video called ‘Go Home Often’, then sent it to families on New Year’s Eve. Their families are all touched.”
In addition to the Chinese-style programs, the gala also had some modern programs, such as hip-hop dance, band music and opera.
The band “Burning Engine” drove young people crazy. Audiences sang with them, screaming and clapping. Three high school students from Lansing High thought it was pretty cool and said they became fans of the band.
Chinese New Year, also known as the spring fetival. The Greater Lansing Chinese Association held this big gala to celebrate the Chinese New Year is becuase the Spring Festival is the year’s most important festival for Chinese people. In China, families get together to celebrate their harvest and make a good wish for the next year. Even though now these Chinese people are in United States, they still come together and celebrate the festival with other cultures.
Lisa Johnson said that from her perspective, the Chinese New Year was more like a cultural feast. Joseph Dever also agreed and said Chinese New Year was more positive and happier.
This is the third year that Greater Lansing Chinese Association hold Chinese New Year Celebration Gala at the Meridian Mall. Julie Brixie, the treasurer of Meridian Township, said that after Michigan State University decided to increase the number of international students, the township wanted to soptlight Chinese people and to draw more people come to Meridian Township.
There is no doubt that the cultural difference between Chinese people and American people is huge. But just because of the cultural difference, people with various backgrounds come together and enjoy each other.