By Effie Chen, Cal Poly Pomona
In recent years, Chinese New Year has become a festival that not only interests Chinese or Asians, but more and more people in the mainstream of American society have also grown interested in.
In Feb. 2015, the California State Senate just passed a resolution presented by Senator Bob Huff, the senate republican leader of California, to make Chinese New Year an official festival in California to honor the state’s rich cultural diversity.
Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy in Los Angeles has been established for over 14 years, and it has dedicated itself to the promotion of the essence of traditional Chinese culture.
In the beginning of the Year of the Ram, it has teamed up with the English Language Institute at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona to host the “2015 Chinese New Year Gathering,” to introduce to the local communities the culture and customs about Chinese New Year, the most important Chinese festival of the year.
The event will be energetically kicked off by a series of festive New Year songs presented by the Happy Band, composed of Tai Ji Men members. Following that will be an amazing feast of traditional Chinese culture, including “Heavenly Official Bestowing Blessings to All,” “Auspicious Lions Bringing Good Fortune to All,” “Lantern Dance,” “Martial Arts Formation,” etc. to showcase an excellent culture.
Additionally, as an ancient menpai (similar to school) of qigong, martial arts, and self-cultivation, Tai Ji Men will also offer “Kung Fu Tea,” which will invite the participants to follow an ancient tea ritual and travel back in time to experience the spirit of martial arts and self-cultivation.
Of course, no Chinese New Year celebration will be complete without the “red envelops!” Tai Ji Men will also give each participant a red envelop and a unique necklace of Chinese knot with the words: “Good fortune is coming to you” on it to wish them to have the best of luck throughout the Year of the Ram!
The young Tai Ji Men members participating in the cultural performances are all American born Chinese, the youngest of whom is only 3 years old. They get to understand and appreciate the profound meanings behind the traditional cultural presentations through practicing and performing the lion dance, martial arts demonstration, lantern dance, etc.
Not only young Chinese Americans are actively involved in the event, a Caucasian will also play the role of “heavenly official” to spread good fortune to all participants of the event. In addition to Chinese cultural presentations, the cultural exchanges will also include performances by representatives from India, Costa Rica, Japan, etc. to enhance mutual understanding among people of different ethnic backgrounds.
For the past ten plus years, Tai Ji Men members, motivated by love, have traveled around the five continents of the world to spread the ideas of love and peace and unite people’s hearts through cultural exchanges.
Since recently the world has seen escalating geopolitical tensions among ethnic groups and nations, creating opportunities to foster interactions and understanding among people of different backgrounds has become especially important.