Chinese Culture Connection Hosts Virtual Lunar New Year

Screenshot of the Lunar New Year event flyer from the Chinese Culture Connection FaceBook page.

In celebration of the Year of the Tiger, the Chinese Culture Connection (CCC) celebrated Lunar New Year with a virtual event over Zoom with a variety of performances and acts to ring in the new year. Prior to the pandemic, the CCC would showcase their performances at Malden High School in the Jenkins auditorium. However, because of restrictions the organization decided to display their event virtually where attendees could RSVP. 

Mei Hung, the Executive Director of CCC, explained that there were several setbacks and challenges in midst of the pandemic as the organization had to be creative and think outside the box.

Hung emphasized how there was tremendous time pressure, as well as having to make many changes in order to prepare the celebration. “Having an online event meant we would not provide a stage… so many performers could not participate [which] meant that all the performances would have to be pre-recorded and edited,” she said. As a result, not all of the performers had the space to perform or the technical skills needed to produce the recording in a timely manner.

Urban Media Arts (UMA) was able to support the CCC’s efforts by offering their equipment and helping to record some of the performances at the J Malden Center. Hung noted that in the virtual world, it takes much more preparation as it required the CCC more than a month of intense production labor during the last two weeks of the event as “we had to hold many rehearsals to make sure that we ironed out the many technical issues and avoid glitches.” 

With the CCC having more than a decade of experience in hosting this annual event, Hung stated that “we have attracted many friends and performing groups who appreciated the opportunity to participate and share their cultural heritage and talents with our audience.” And although many recurring performers could not join them this year, there were still benefits to the virtual format. “[It] enabled us to invite performers from China, this would not have been possible if the event was in person.”

During the event, there were various acts of singing and dancing from performers coming from the organization and all across Malden. Hung especially highlighted ZiDe Qin She, a traditional Chinese musical group. 

She went on to say how the whole performance introduced not only the unique characteristics of each musical instrument, but also “set the time in the Song dynasty with the performers’ costumes and coupled with their highly creative interpretation and versatile video technique.” The performance was able to establish a fantasy-like visual effect through its performers. “It gave an outlandish and a sense of a surreal experience for the audience.” 

Screenshot of the Lunar New Year event flyer from the Chinese Culture Connection FaceBook page.

In addition, each year the CCC collaborates with the U.S Postal Service to unveil a limited edition Lunar New Year stamp for the Year of the Tiger, with this year being the seventh year. 

“It is essential for our Asian immigrant community to retain their cultural heritage and feel a sense of pride, while acculturating into the mainstream American culture,” Hung emphasized. Observing this annual Lunar New Year celebration is “symbolic of embracing their traditional heritage” because it “helps our American-born youth with Asian heritage to preserve and develop a positive bi-cultural identity.” 

“We want our youth to feel proud of who they are and leverage their bi-cultural persona as an asset to maximize their potential,” Hung said. 

Junior Henry Zhao, who celebrates Lunar New Year annually with his family, stated that the holiday allows for families to “spend time with your family and to welcome yourselves into the new year with good fortune, happiness and love.”

As an immigrant, Hung believes that the celebration served many functions. She added that as human beings, “we have more in common than our differences… but we also have unique aspects of our very own culture.” She elaborated that “the differences are often very small, yet they can set us apart…I hope through the sharing of this event, we educate, enrich and inspire each other.”

Adding on to that thought, senior Katrina Chang who volunteered for the CCC, explained that through this event, the organization “makes us feel connected with the country of origin, despite being Asian American.” She added that it strengthens the “bond between Asian Americans and allows us to expand more on Chinese culture to others” who are not well-versed in it.

Hung expressed that the mission of the CCC is to “promote intercultural harmony, strengthen the diverse community and build a bridge between the Chinese and American citizens and people from around the world within our reach.” 

“Our goal is to help our Asian immigrant community feel a sense of belonging, while connecting to their American neighbors and friends,” Hung said. Moreover, it is to have a cultural center that enables people of  “all ethnicities to congregate, share dialogue, exchange ideas, share and learn from one another to celebrate diversity for the benefit of all.”

Related Posts