International students celebrate Chinese New Year


On Sat. Jan 28, The University of Southern Mississippi’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association hosted a Chinese New Year Gala in order to ring in the traditional Chinese New Year.

According to, Chinese New Year is the most important social and economic holiday in China and serves to honor household and heavenly deities, as well as ancestors.

“Significantly, younger generation of Chinese now observe the holiday in a very different manner from their ancestors,” reads a statement on the site. “For some young people, the holiday has evolved from an opportunity to renew family ties to a chance for relaxation from work.”

2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster. According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in Rooster years are extremely observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented.

Although the organizers I encountered at the gala probably weren’t all roosters, I definitely saw all those attributes in them. Several hundred people attended, but the home-cooked food was plentiful. Unfortunately, I’m not the best when it comes to food names, and by the time I made it to the front of the buffet line many of the dishes had been moved away from their labels. I ate various concoctions of chicken and duck and beef and even my first slice of King Cake, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what dishes I tried.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed everything I picked up and hardly had time to focus on any of it before I found myself enjoying scavenger hunt games, riveting musical performances and even a karate display from local karate students. Although the vast majority of the crowd was Asian, I found myself at a table with people from Mississippi, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. All around me, international students talked in their own tongues and miled widely at one another. I was awestruck by the incredible diversity and reminded of just how fortunate we are to foster such worldly relationships at USM.

All in all, it was most definitely a night to remember, and if it’s any indication of the year to come, we have much to look forward to.