By Xiaotao Zhong
Northwestern University’s Chinese Student and Scholar Association and the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago co-hosted the 2022 Midwest Chinese Scholars Lantern Festival celebration.
The event featured performances by students from various institutions in the Midwest in a pre-recorded festival for online viewing on Feb. 15.
Many Chinese international students are away from home and family for years. Celebrating traditions helps them alleviate homesickness, preserve their cultural identity and disseminate their culture.
Watch the full celebration here.
NARRATION: Northwestern University’s Chinese Student and Scholar Association and the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago co-hosted the 2022 Midwest Chinese Scholars Lantern Festival celebration.
HOST: The scholars on the other side of the ocean send their warm wishes to their families and home through the bright moon.
NARRATION: The celebration featured performances by students from various institutions in the Midwest, and it was pre-recorded and presented online to Chinese international students on Feb. 15.
JINMENG YANG: (Some performances) will be more Chinese-style, such as “Da Yu” and “Spring Festival Overture.” Some others are Chinese folk songs or traditional performing arts that reflect Chinese characteristics.
HOST: The rhythm of youth is reverberating in the air …
NARRATION: Lantern Festival is one of the traditional Chinese festivals. It marks the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. And this year, the Lantern Festival falls on Feb. 15th.
MING SHENG: Having a festival like this helps us remember our culture and remind us that we are from China.
NARRATION: One of the traditions to celebrate the festival is to eat sweet rice balls, called “Tangyuan” in Chinese. The pronunciation of the word is similar to “Tuanyuan,” which means reunion.
JINMENG YANG: I’ve been living in the U.S. for many years, and I and my friends will always have “Tuanyuan” (to celebrate the festival). It makes me feel like I am still at home, although I am not there physically, my thoughts and habits never changed.
MING SHENG: Celebrating festivals like this where we cooked with friends and watched the CCTV New Year’s Gala brings the Chinese together and gives us a sense of togetherness. I think this is the significance of the festival to us.
NARRATION: Maintaining traditions is also a vital way for members of the community to preserve their cultural identity and disseminate their culture.
ZHILING WANG: China has a rich and profound culture, and there are many cultural symbols that can be used to spread our culture. Our traditional festivals are a good example. From my perspective, I have many friends from all over the world who are interested in learning and celebrating our Spring Festival.
ZHILING WANG: (Chinese international students should) connect and make friends with people from different parts of the world. During this process, there will be occasions where you need to introduce your cultural background. If you can confidently share your country’s culture, you will be able to learn about other cultures while preserving your cultural identity.
HOST: There has been more than a hundred years of history of Chinese scholars studying in the U.S.
NARRATION: Many Chinese international students are away from home and family for years. Celebrating traditions helps them alleviate homesickness and gives them a chance to connect with their families.
JINMENG YANG: Typically, when we are having “Tangyuan” or reunion dinner, we will video call our families and let them know we are doing well here.
MING SHENG: Just like what we said in the script, “To consign the longing for home and loved ones.” I hope to send the warmest wishes to Chinese international students during this freezing wintertime through our celebration event.
NARRATION: The celebration program is now live on YouTube. From Evanston, this is Xiaotao Zhong, Medill Reports.
Xiaotao Zhong is a sports media graduate student at Medill. You can follow him on Twitter at @SunnyZ_16.