So here’s why I haven’t been blogging recently:
This was the second year that I organised the Chinese New Year celebrations at the Arts University College at Bournemouth, last year went surprisingly well and the uni had a chance to experience a different culture overtaking the campus. We had lion dancers and chinese food served, as well as local businesses donating decorations to fill the Arts Bar and canteen with colour. Also we were giving out lucky red envelopes and prizes for who could say “Gong Xie Fat Chai” to us!
After the pilot year I wanted to include more culture into the celebrations, I wanted it to be bigger and better!
My whole of January was devoted to the organising of the event trying to sort out the entertainment as well as the extra little activities going around on the day (with my dissertation feeling slightly neglected…).
It was quite an ambitious task: I wanted to have chinese food served again, but this year it took the form of a “buffet” style, and as well as decorating the Uni I wanted to have chinese calligraphers to teach people how to write their chinese zodiac with traditional brush, paper and ink. Also I wished to have chinese teas that people could try for free as well as red bracelets to tie onto people around the campus to protect them from evil spirits. Additionally there was celebratory music being blasted out across the campus and sky lanterns that people could write their hopes and dreams to be released later that evening.
And of course the entertainment which was in the form of a martial arts demonstration and lion dancers!
In comparison to the six volunteers helping last year, I was overwhelmed by the fifty that were required for this event, I am so very grateful to all the people who helped with the various roles on the day to make it special for everyone.
We booked Yi Quin Lion Dance club this year and they were absolutely amazing! They brought colour and vibrancy to every part of the Uni including the library with their energetic movements and cheeky characterisation of the lion couple. We were lucky enough to have three martial arts demonstrations too.
In the evening we had the sky lanterns launch. Ten lanterns bearing the wishes of the Uni to face typical windy British conditions, what could go wrong…
The ideal of releasing all lanterns simultaneously in a circle formation quickly dissipated, it became an elegant battle of determination and group encouragement to get the lanterns floating to the skies. Most lanterns flew more horizontally than upwards, nevertheless we managed to will on nine lanterns on their paths to heaven, with every lantern urged with anticipation and gusto!
Thank you to everyone who helped out, the Student Union and International Office for their support and everyone who participated and was able to share what millions of us celebrate every year.
Photography by Nauman Abdul-Hafeez.