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Eckerd cultural clubs bring in Year of the Dragon with Lunar New Year celebration

By Grey Curcio '24
Published March 11, 2024
Categories: International Life, Student Life, Students

Eckerd College students filled the GO Pavilion on Feb. 23 to celebrate the Lunar New Year, enjoying many enchanting and colorful sights, intent on banishing the old and welcoming the new Year of the Dragon.

The event was hosted by Eckerd’s Chinese Cultural Club, All About Asians, and Palmetto Productions, and was full of events and activities for those celebrating. Stations with crafts, gifts and information about the Lunar New Year were scattered in the pavilion, and many students left with an airbrush tattoo, a bamboo plant and a lucky red envelope.

An event highlight was Lion Dancing, a traditional performance done by two dancers in a lion costume. The dancers will mimic a lion’s movements, often performing complicated stunts to bring luck and good fortune for the new year. This athletically challenging dance is captivating to watch, with its swirl of bright colors and remarkably animal-like movements. The Lion Dancers circulated among the crowd, attracting attention wherever they danced.

Chinese Cultural Club head Alex Pomrenke, a junior biology student from Normal, Indiana, began the club to focus specifically on sharing the culture, traditions and language of China with Eckerd. Although Alex also is on the board of All About Asians, another club centering on the Asian experience at Eckerd, they feel having a place specifically for Chinese students is important. “[The Chinese Cultural Club] focuses on teaching and sharing Chinese culture; whereas, All About Asians is more of a gathering place for people who already have any level of interest in Asian culture,” Alex said.

The event was a big hit, even with Eckerd students who don’t identify as Asian: The GO Pavilion was filled with students throughout the evening. Mellen Carroll, a sophomore communication student from Avon, Connecticut, particularly loved the performances and the food catered by Bon Appétit. “The food was amazing and the activities are great,” they said. “There’s so much fun going on here at the GO Pavilion tonight … whimsy is alive and well!” Mellen took home some lucky bamboo, a red envelope and a paper lantern they made themself, as well as a temporary airbrushed butterfly tattoo on their arm.

The main goal of this Lunar New Year celebration was to observe this incredibly important festive holiday and to share the beauty of Chinese culture with people who might be unfamiliar with it.

“I know that China is often vilified in America …,” Alex said. “I hope this event shows people that just because it’s from China doesn’t mean it’s bad. I want to share because that’s also a big part of Chinese culture.”

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