Annual event celebrates Lunar New Year with discussion, art

lanterns taking off at chinese new year

York University’s Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics (DLLL) celebrated the Lunar New Year Festival on Feb. 14 by organizing its annual Chinese Culture Day event.

“York’s annual Chinese Culture Day provides exposure to a unique and rich culture through lectures, discussions, music and art,” said J.J. McMurtry, dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “This helps our students gain unique insights that enable them to thrive in a globalized world.”

This year the event featured a series of public lectures covering a range of topics from cultural transformation through the arts, to Chinese heritage in Canada and culture politics. Speakers included Jack Leong, senior librarian and former associate dean of research and open scholarship at York University Libraries; Chris Song, assistant professor at the University of Toronto; and Yu Chang, a member of the Hong Kong Collectors Society.

A Toronto opera troupe from the Starlight Chinese Opera Performing Arts Centre entertained with two live stage shows: one Peking Opera performance titled Drunken Concubine and one Cantonese Opera performance titled Scramble for an Umbrella.

Organizers at Chinese Culture Day
Organizers, attendees and performers at the Chinese Culture Day event.
From left to right: Gang Pan, Pietro Giordan, Yu Chang, Jack Leong, Jessica Tsui-yan Li, Alice K. Chan, Michelle Cai, Carrie Ling Wan Leung, Chris Song, Karen Xiaoning Shi and Jia Ma.

A Lunar New Year exhibition, displayed between Feb. 5 and 16, was also on hand, highlighting artistic Chinese calligraphy, artifacts, drawings and narratives.

Gabriela Alboiu, an associate professor and DLLL’s Chair, praised the event, noting it is the most important yearly occasion organized by Chinese Studies. “It was ingenious, insightful, inclusive and an informative way to celebrate the Lunar New Year,” she said.

Organizer Jessica Tsui-yan Li, an associate professor and the Chinese section co-ordinator of DLLL, also noted the event’s relevance to larger institutional goals at the University. “Through academic discussion and cultural performances, this event produced insights on equity, diversity, and inclusion and helped promote understanding, empathy, and compassion at York University and by extension co-construct a multicultural society in Canada,” she said.  

This event was open to the students, scholars, and faculty members of York University and community members in the Greater Toronto Area. It was sponsored by LA&PS, DLLL, the York Centre for Asian Research and Founders College.