The longest and most significant Chinese holiday will
be celebrated in grand style on the Homewood campus this
year, as students and scholars representing 12
Baltimore/Washington area universities will pack Shriver
Hall this Saturday to usher in the Year of the Dog.
The inaugural Chinese New Year celebration at Johns
Hopkins, which will begin at 6:30 p.m., will feature a
mixture of Chinese and Western culture, including
performances by both students and professional troupes. The
evening will consist of a performance program, which is set
to end at 10:30 p.m., followed by a viewing of the Chinese
fantasy/drama Wu Ji (The Promise), also in Shriver Hall.
Concurrently, a dance party will be held from 10:30 p.m. to
12:30 a.m. in the Glass Pavilion, and karaoke, poker and
chess games will be offered in Levering.
Organizers expect more than 1,000 people to attend the
Jan. 21 celebration, including Shaozhong You, the minister
counselor for education affairs at the Chinese Embassy in
Washington, who will give a New Year address. For the
event, Shriver Hall will be decorated with Chinese paper
lanterns and symbols.
The New Year period, also known as the Spring
Festival, begins on the first day of the Chinese calendar
— Jan. 29 this year — and ends 15 days later
with the Lantern Festival.
The Chinese Student and Scholar
Association at Johns Hopkins is co-sponsor of the
event, along with the CSSA chapters at other participating
schools and the Chinese Embassy in the United States. The
main sponsors and confirmed schools that will attend are
American, George Mason, George Washington, Georgetown,
Towson and Virginia Tech universities; the universities of
Virginia, Delaware and Maryland at College Park, Baltimore
and Baltimore County; and the National Institutes of
Jun Wang, the event co-organizer and a third-year
doctoral student in chemistry, said that while Chinese
students at Johns Hopkins have celebrated the holiday on
campus in the past, this year the CSSA wanted to host a
larger-scale affair that would attract Chinese students and
their families from around Baltimore and Washington.
"New Year's time is the most important holiday for
Chinese people, so we wanted this to be a major event and
invite other schools to participate," Wang said. "New
Year's is a time for family to gather and for people to
relax and celebrate."
Johns Hopkins currently has roughly 1,400 Chinese
nationals working and studying at the Homewood, East
Baltimore and Peabody campuses.
Wang said that the celebration, which is free and open
to everyone, also offers an opportunity to introduce
aspects of Chinese culture to others. It will feature
traditional Chinese folk songs and dance acts by colorfully
dressed performers, including a dragon dance and martial
Among the Western acts are a piano performance and
American Indian dancing.
The film Wu Ji, released in 2005, is the story of a
young woman, favored by the goddess of fortune, who becomes
the most beautiful royal concubine in the world. Spoiled by
the king, she lives a life of extreme luxury, but fate has
cursed her never to enjoy true love until "time flows
backwards and the dead come back to life." A slave,
determined to lift the curse, uses his extraordinary
physical abilities to break the shackles fate has put on
Wei Xiao, event co-organizer and president of the
Johns Hopkins CSSA, said that he hopes the night proves to
be a rousing celebration.
"For many of us who are away from our homeland, this
will bring us a bit closer to home," he said.