LIVINGSTON, NJ – Chinese arts and crafts, music and culture were on full display at the Livingston Chinese Culture Day festivities held on Friday at Livingston High School. More than 1000 people welcomed in the Year of the Rooster (which took place on Jan. 28) by participating in an array of crafts, games and workshops before enjoying the gala performance that was the event’s grand finale.
Livingston High School’s gymnasium was the main site for the afternoon’s culture show, which included Chinese dance performances, archery for kids, educational tables, arts and crafts for children, a demonstration of Chinese writing and a Kung Fu demonstration. In the late afternoon, the school’s cafeteria was filled with people enjoying Chinese food for dinner.
“This is a wonderful annual event that brings together multiple Chinese organizations in town,” said George Shen, board of education member and chair of the event’s public relations sub-committee. “We are most grateful to the Livingston High School for providing us with the site for this celebration of the Chinese New Year.”
Sponsoring organizations included the Livingston Chinese Association, the Livingston Chinese School, the Livingston Huaxia Chinese School, the Living Stone Christian Church, the Livingston Youth and Community Service and Livingston High School.
“Everyone always looks forward to the gala performance, which sells out quickly,” said Louis Liu, a vice president of the Livingston Chinese Association. “This year we’ll have over 600 people attending the gala, which features the best of Chinese traditional dancing and martial arts.”
Among the gala highlights were a children’s chorus doing a festive rendition of Singing with a Smile, the Livingston High School dance team doing a fun skit/dance called “Sorry my Chinese is not that good;” guest singers Xianzhong Zhai and Naiyi Zhao performing a Beijing Opera “At the Crossroads;” guest performer Ying Shi doing a solo dance; and a magic show by Ying Li.
The Main Committee members for this event were Michael Tong, chairperson, Daniel Yu, vice chairperson/treasurer, Wha-Ning Doo, Huacheng Wang, Susan Ridley, and Lucy Lee, who has taught Chinese language education at Livingston High School for 27 years.
“It’s been great to see the tremendous growth of the high school’s Chinese language education program from when I first began,” said Lee. “I started with one class with five students. Today, there are over 100 students in a full-fledged language program that offers five levels of instruction. We now have Chinese 1 through Chinese 4, and Chinese AP courses.”
Lee also said that many of the students go on to study Chinese language at college.
“There is a great need by the government to hire people who understand Chinese, and a lot of our students have gone into government work,” he said.
This is one of the Chinese Association’s annual activities, which include donating Chinese books to the Livingston Public Library, participating in the township’s Memorial Day parade, and a summer barbecue.
The Chinese Association was recognized on Monday by the Livingston mayor and council for hosting such a successful event. Pictured above, Mayor Shawn Klein presents the association with a citation recognizing this accomplishment at Monday's township council meeting.