The Chinese Students’ Association held their annual China Nite celebration on Saturday to commemorate the Chinese New Year, which begins on Feb. 18. The event featured a catered dinner in the Meliora Restaurant and a performance combining both traditional and modern Chinese song and dance with a comedic skit in Strong Auditorium.

Approximately 85 students flocked to the Meliora Restaurant from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday for the dinner, which was catered by ARAMARK. The buffet-style meal featured popular American Chinese dishes served by eight members of CSA.

“The menu this year included beef and broccoli, general’s chicken, curry tofu, vegetable chow mein and white rice,” CSA Business Manager and senior Tony Mark said. “I was very pleased with what ARAMARK and the Meliora could put together. I was quite surprised with their ability to satisfy the Asian palate.”

Shortly after dinner, students were treated to a show entitled “Harry Porker and the Island of Doom.” The show was a series of performances that told the fictional story of a young student’s ascent through guardian academy and his dangerous final project. CSA members did all the writing and directing of the show, as well as all of the acting.

The show featured a wide variety of group and individual acts. Traditional dances, such as a lantern dance and a fan dance, were performed along with more modern forms of dance. There were numerous duos and small groups who sang, as well as some instrumental performances and a comedic performance.

“There were a number of traditional dances for the girls and the guys,” CSA member and freshman Clare Sun said. “The entire night was a skit – there would be a scene and then it would be related to a dance.”

The annual fashion show was also included in the story. Performers showcased the diversity of Chinese clothing, both traditional and modern.

The show finished with a medley dance performance in which both male and female dancers showed off their skills through modern dance.

“The show was a great success, with a great turnout and wonderful feedback from the audience,” CSA Senior Senator Xueying Sherry Chen said. “Close to 300 people showed up to the show.”

China Nite is CSA’s largest and most popular event of the year. Members started preparing for the event at the end of November.

The event was the culmination of Chinese Awareness Week, which is meant to inform students about Chinese culture as well as the upcoming Chinese New Year. Feb. 18 marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Pig, the 12th and final animal of the zodiac.

The week started with a movie night on Monday. CSA and UR Cinema Group co-sponsored showings of “The Banquet,” a story inspired by Hamlet and set in ancient China, and “2 Become 1,” a modern romantic comedy done in Cantonese.

Tuesday featured a Chinese game night in Hirst Lounge. Students were treated to a number of traditional Chinese games including Go, Mah Jong and Chinese Chess.

A Chinese Art and Literature fair was held in Hirst Lounge on Thursday, showcasing Chinese culture through those mediums. Informational tables were set up around the lounge, detailing many different art forms and written works. In addition, calligrapher Wen Wen Su and Chinese watercolor painter Alice Chen showed off their talents for students. Both Su and Chen are from the Rochester community.

“From what we know, this tradition of celebrating the new year [at UR] goes back to the 1970s,” Xueying Sherry Chen said.

Moeller is a member of the class of 2009.

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