Students and faculty at Eastern New Mexico University got a small taste of Chinese culture this Friday at the Chinese New Year Banquet. The event, hosted by International Affairs and the international club celebrated the beginning of the Year of the Monkey.
International students from China played an integral part in planning the event as well as performing in many roles during the banquet. The students that are a part of this event are immensely passionate about the banquet because they see it as a way to share their culture with their peers in Portales.
International Club President Ruijun Xu said the festival is very important in Chinese culture.
"The spring festival means a lot. [It’s] much more than a get together, family reunion or amazing food, it's a part of my culture and tradition," Xu said. "Especially for a Chinese who's far away from home on the other side of the Pacific, so this celebration is more than an event for me. It's a way to share our culture with many other people."
While the celebrations here certainly cannot compare to New Year's celebrations that take place in China, ENMU students are grateful that there is opportunity to celebrate.
Caroline Xiao, a Chinese international student at ENMU, explained that despite the lack of prominent Chinese culture in the small town of Portales, she is thankful for the taste of home.
"[We] are far away from China, so this university wants Chinese student to feel at home, and Chinese students want to share their culture with Americans," Xiao said. "[This is] why we have the banquet."
At the banquet, there was dancing, singing, musical performances, and a silent auction.
This year's banquet met the expectations of being a great event as it typically does according to Kris-Ann Walters, a student who was in attendance.
"I looked forward to the unique performances of the Chinese students," Walters said. "I enjoy being able to learn what their culture have to offer and to celebrate the Chinese New Year with them."