Normally you wouldn’t encourage your children to throw food, but Cornelius resident Mary Gourley was doing just that with her 18-month-old daughter, Olive Moore.
They were celebrating the Lunar New Year by throwing lettuce back at the Mooresville Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy dancers during the Dragon Dance.
The ceremonial dance featured brightly adorned dragons scattering the lettuce leaves among the crowd, symbolizing a fresh start for the New Year and the spreading of good luck.
“This is Olive’s third time for this event,” Gourley said, explaining that she was pregnant with Olive the first time she came. Gourley said she enjoys the event so much that she intends to come every year to make Olive aware of the Asian culture.
The two were attending the Lunar New Year Celebration at Davidson College on Feb. 15, though the actual New Year was Feb. 19.
Kaylie Tram, president of the Asian Culture Awareness Association, which organized the observance, said the event is designed to teach others about the Asian culture. It has grown during the three years she has been attending the college.
“It is an event that we have every year that the Davidson community and the college looks forward to,” said Tram. “The excitement you feel with all these people around you, enjoying the food and performances, is what keeps people coming back.”
“The New Year is set by the lunar calendar and this is the Year of the goat or sheep, depending on the culture you are from,” said Tram.
The Brown Atrium in the Alvarez College Union building on the Davidson campus was decorated with Chinese lanterns, while crafts such as bamboo painting and character writings were on display and the air was filled with the smell of Asian cuisine and music.
There was also a photo booth with hats made to look like sheep to make a keepsake picture to remember the day.
Next to the buffet of traditional Asian offerings, freshman Henry Han, 18, helped with a make-your-own dumpling station. Han cooked the dumplings that attendees made by rolling pieces of chicken in the raw dough.
Among the performers, the Little Lotus Co. of Charlotte entertained the crowd by dancing the Chinese folk dance Kai Men Hong, which means “open door, see red.”
In addition to the food and crafts, students such as sophomore Adrian Cheung, 20, showed the attendees how to use a Chinese yo-yo.
Maya Choudhury, 5, was excited to try the yo-yo but needed some help. Junior Lauren Lu, 20, stepped in, putting her arms around Maya, grabbing her hands and guiding her through the motions.
In a few moments, Maya had the yo-yo spinning back and forth on the line.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to the Asian Culture Awareness Association website, http://sites.davidson.edu/anthro/acaa.