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International Students Cook for Chinese New Year

by Christian Diaz, News Editor

photo by Yifan Zhao.

Students, faculty and guests welcomed the Year of the Dragon with a feast in celebration of the Chinese New Year in Cannon Lounge on January 22nd.

The event, held for 12 years in a row, has become a staple of the spring semester that draws people from throughout Western North Carolina. The festivities featured a performance by a traditional sword dancer and a lion dance.

With the guidance of Professor of Political Science DongPing Han, international students slaughtered a pig from the farm and barbecued it for the dinner. The rain did not deter them.

Senior Bin Cao believes that in order to feast on the animal, it’s important that you’re able to see it die. Han recalled a student who was elated by what he learned that day.

“One time a student told me it was the best thing they ever did in their life,” Han said. “They were so excited. Learning how to kill and clean a pig is an important skill. People don’t always have a relationship with their food anymore.”

The slaughtering of a pig dates back to ancient China when food might have been scarce, but for the New Year people came together and made sure there was an abundance of nourishment.

The line at the event was long, and the plates were piled high with spring rolls, dumplings, stir-fried vegetables, noodles, and cake, all of which students prepared together in the Gladfelter kitchen. Other food items were brought from nearby restaurants.

photo by Yifan Zhao.

Cao and company spent several hours preparing the meal. After butchering the pig, Cao prepared pork dumplings well into the evening. Sunday afternoon he found himself perspiring in the kitchen in a fast paced environment making sure the dumplings, the size of a large fist, were ready.

This is Cao’s third year celebrating the New Year away from home, an experience he shares with Sophomore Jian Zhang who also laments being away from her family located in Hunan Province.

“I haven’t celebrated this festival with my family for three years [but] It’s cool that we can celebrate the new year in a foreign country,” she said.

As the sun slid behind the mountains, Cannon swelled with chatter and laughter.

Bin said, “I hope students enjoyed cooking together, having a meal together and getting to know each other better. Many American people will celebrate with us, and the feeling of building that connection is very rewarding.”

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