Year of the Dragon

By Dean Hetherington

A ccording to the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Dragon symbolizes good luck and prosperity. If the Chinese New Year Festival is any indication, this prediction is well on its way to becoming reality. On Tuesday, the Hong Kong Students’ Association celebrated the New Year in conjunction with International Week.

"Basically we are organizing some Chinese traditional activities along the lines of the Chinese community," said HKSA President Hilda Leu. "There is so little exposure to Chinese culture in the university. What we are trying to do is promote Chinese culture to the Western tradition."

"Nobody does this sort of thing at the Chinese Cultural Centre," said artist Henry Way. "Kids have computers and electronics to play with now. The HKSA wanted me to show young people about the old traditions."

In addition to the booths, the Jing Wo Martial Arts and Athletics Association treated onlookers to a colourful Lion Dance at noon, followed by kung fu and t’ai chi demonstrations.

"We’ve been planning this for quite a few months already," said HKSA Vice-president of External Affairs Julie Vergara. "We’ve been busy going around Chinatown making contacts for this event."

The event brought together the members of Calgary’s Chinese community for the fourth day of a 14-day celebration. The hksa said the event was culturally important for both Chinese and non-Chinese members of the university.

"This is a Canadian university," said Leu. "Chinese people come here to study from Hong Kong. They want to meet people with the same culture and they want activities based on their cultural background."

The feedback from the students of the university was very positive.

"I think the university should pay for more activities like this," said third-year Fine Arts major Ray Luu. "I think that this is very positive. It brings cultural diversity to the university."

To the HKSA, the Chinese New Year celebration is a time of finding new members and re-living old traditions.

"It’s like a normal North American new year, but also like a renewal," said Vergara. "This is a really big holiday for us."

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