A festive week on campus early in February helped boost spirits past flu season and into spring. The week had many facets of the Warren Wilson community enjoying Mardi Gras, the beginning of Lent, and the Chinese Lunar New Year. With the help of many others, political science professor Dongping Han made sure the latter event was celebrated in style.
The campus celebration of the Lunar New Year drew hundreds from the Asheville area to an afternoon gathering filled with dance, tea, and delicious food. Hopes of a lucky, prosperous New Year set the mood, and Mandarin Chinese could be heard bouncing across Canon Lounge.
The Lunar New Year is on a 12-year rotation of animal themes. This year we transition from the year of the pig to the year of the rat. Symbolically or by coincidence, two pigs from the Warren Wilson farm were roasted and savored for the occasion. Students took over the otherwise vegetarian kitchen of the Cowpie Cafe to prepare hundreds of pork dumplings and other delicacies from scratch.
Performances of sword dances, tai chi and Chinese songs embellished the meal. "It brought a country from half way around the world with over 3,500 years of recorded history to our modest valley," said one student.
Lei Zhao, a student from Anyang City in Hanan Province, China, had a more intimate perspective in contrasting the event in China to the celebration on campus. "At home we will stay with our families and not so many people," he said. "We also do a lot of fireworks." Zhao is one of seven Chinese students enrolled at Warren Wilson this year.
If any luck is evident from honoring the New Year, even without fireworks, perhaps it can be seen in the four new calves recently born on the College Farm.
Written by Warren Wilson College sophomore Vanessa Emery.