The year of the dragon

By Maraea Mason


Booths set up as part of the festival provide purchasable items in celebration of the Year of the Dragon. Photo by Paige McLaughlin.

Benedictine’s Asia Institute celebrated the Chinese New Year in the Fifth Annual Festival of Asia last Friday. The event was celebrated through various areas of art such as songs, instrumentals, fashion, food, traditional dance and martial arts.

“Each year is getting better,” said Carol Sweet executive director of global and intercultural education. “Events like this help us bring the global to the local. Just look in our backyard, it is evident from the high schools’ participation and the martial arts,” she concluded.

Other schools from the DuPage County area came to celebrate the festival. Naperville Central and Naperville North’s choirs sang at the beginning of the program, performing songs in the native Chinese language.

“This year broke the record for guests coming; we had 390 people come,” said Elsie Yuan director of Asia Institute and event coordinator. “Because of the storm, I anticipated that not a lot of people would show up, but I’m glad they did,” she continued.

BenU’s foreign language Chinese 101 and 201 classes entertained over 200 audience members in a light-hearted performance of “The Quad is Alive with the Sound of Chinese.” While BenBeats, Benedictine’s Hip Hop Club, danced to a variation of American pop-music.

“I want more clubs to participate next year,” Yuan said. “It is important to celebrate diversity outside of the classroom, it allows everyone to get to know each other,” she added.

Presentations were given by Benedictine students Adam Baldocchi and Kathleen Thomas on their experiences of studying abroad in China. During Baldocchi’s presentation, he said that he felt at home while studying in China.

Thomas recollected that it was a very different and enjoyable experience as she compared Benedictine’s campus to the large campus she attended while studying abroad.

Other parts of the festival included vendors where patrons could purchase traditional Chinese clothing and other collectable items. Sodexho also prepared an Asian buffet for the guests.

“I found about the festival the first time two years ago from being a part of the International Programs office,” said junior and Chinese fashion show model Alex Fridge.

“Amanda Schmidt from the Asia Institute asked me to participate in it. It was pretty interesting because you have to be very careful when you put on the outfit. It can be very delicate or old so I had to be very gentle,” added Fridge.

According to U.S. Bridal Guide, the characteristics of those born in the year of the Dragon include: innovative, enterprising, flexible, self-assured, brave, passionate, conceited and unanticipated. Those who were born in 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 and 2000 were all born in the year of the Dragon.