Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Campus Events + Entertainment Ancestral Appreciation and Culture Committee hosts Lunar New Year celebration

Cassandra Ozuna

Sharp cymbal clangs pierce the air accompanied by the deep rumble of drums that resonate throughout the ballroom, stirring the hearts of the crowd and causing the floorboards to tremble. Three sky-blue lions adorned with white beads, fringe and fur prance their way through the throng. Pushing back with their heads and feet, the lions toss small oranges at the crowd. Two pairs of feet work in perfect harmony, lifting the lions high as they unfurl banners wishing a joyous and prosperous new year.

Campus Events + Entertainment hosted a Lunar New Year celebration on Tuesday to welcome the Year of the Dragon. The event featured student performances, traditions booths, free food and prizes in the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom. 

“It’s a good opportunity to show people traditions and how we celebrate culture,” said Leslie Looi, AAC Event Coordinator and design freshman.

Each performance, from dance crews to martial arts demonstrations, paralleled the pulsing pop music reverberating off scarlet-lit walls, creating an electrifying atmosphere in the ballroom. After donating a lion costume head to his Chinese martial arts club, Texas Wushu, Zachary Briones, an electrical and computer engineering junior, said he inspired the group to celebrate Chinese cultural representation with a lion dance performance.

“It’s exhilarating,” Briones said. “I shake a little, but I just get ready for it and then just do it. I’m not even thinking when I’m doing it. I’m just doing it.”

Asian and Asian American student organizations lined the ballroom, each hosting a table with games and traditional activities including K-Pop trivia questions and short calligraphy lessons. In the center of the room, a small round table arranged with a crimson tablecloth and a small “wish tree” brimmed with red tags harbored hopes for the new year. 

“(My wish for the new year is) to focus on meeting new people,” Looi said. “I’ve been trying to join new organizations this past year.”

Joy Deng, founder and president of the Texas Diabolo Association, entertained the crowd with a solo performance of tosses, tricks and catches with her diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo. She said she began teaching herself Chinese yo-yo after attending a Chinese summer camp and a national convention in New York. Since then, Deng said she practices multiple times a day, including late into the night on Speedway.

“All my friends say that my whole life revolves around practice,” Deng said. “My philosophy is consistency over large chunks of time.”

Deng’s glowing yo-yo soared through the air in a flash of neon pink, hurling back onto the thin string she had just thrown it on as the crowd waited with bated breath, cheering on her act’s success. 

“I have a lot of fun and I’m really happy if I can see that the crowd had fun,” Deng said. “Oh my gosh, it’s the best when some people come up to me afterward and they want to try.”

Whereas some students traveled back home to honor Lunar New Year, others celebrated from afar with their Austin community. Deng, who said several gigs this week will keep her busy, said she will spend the new year with her team performing.

“It’s a great time for the Asian American community to come together and celebrate in Texas,” Deng said.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Campus Events + Entertainment hosted the event. The Texan regrets this error.

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