Celebration spotlights ‘Year of the Dog’

By Jackie Velez


Dance, music and poetry were among the highlights of the University of the Incarnate Word’s annual celebration of Asian New Year – for the first time in the Student Engagement Center Ballroom.

Sponsored by the Office of International Affairs, the “Year of the Dog” celebration included free food.  Partakers had their choice of either beef and broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, broccoli and carrots, edamame dumplings, veggie spring rolls, steamed and fried rice.

It was an Asian food junkie’s heaven.

“I chose beef and broccoli,” senior nursing major Jorge Vasquez said. “I’m a guy, so I want meat.” “It was all very delicious but the spring rolls were definitely my favorite,” said Jose Martinez, director of International Student and Scholar Services. “I also enjoyed the sauce selections.”

Music surrounded the ballroom as the Raindrop Ensemble performed for the event-goers. Performances caught the attention of everyone such as a Shakuhachi (Bamboo) Performance by Martha Fabrique. The Huang Shong Chinese Orchestra of San Antonio played and their dancers also performed.

The event even got the catwalk treatment as students, faculty and staff participated in a fashion show. “Today, I am representing Korea,” Natalie Salazar, a junior government major, said about the attire she was wearing in the fashion show. “It’s called a hanbok and they use it for weddings. It’s a more traditional outfit.”

Salazar said she got the dress from a professor who had it made for her when she went to Korea.

“This was sized and made for her,” Salazar said. “We’re just students who like to volunteer and help out with these cultural festivals. We stand up and represent because we are more than happy to culture our students.”

The Office of Study Abroad was among several entities with their own table of goodies. The display at the table attracted a large crowd. Study Abroad Coordinator Alanna Taylor, gave a rundown of the display.

“We are giving away fortune cookies and we’re also doing Chinese firecrackers, so students are making wishes and putting them in their balloons,” Taylor said. “At the end of the ceremony, we’ll have a popping event, and everyone will pop their firecrackers to wish away the bad luck and bring in the New Year.”

Students generally remarked this year’s celebration of Asian New Year had been advertised much more than previous years and noticed the variety of ethnicities present.

Martinez, the international administrator, was pleased to hear that, noting events can be found on the office’s website and Facebook page.

“We hope the word continues to spread and that we have as successful of a turnout at other events throughout the year,” Martinez said. “I am so grateful for everyone’s willingness to be open to experience the celebrations of different cultures. It was a unique way to share the Asian traditions with our student body and UIW community. Keep an eye out for our Holi celebration in March and our big Diwali celebration in the fall.”

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