NEW YORK, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Around 1,500 people celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year at Columbia University here on Sunday night, with a focus on Chinese culture and youth in the United States.
The Columbia University Spring Festival Gala 2019, comprised of 14 programs, covered a wide variety of performances, included traditional Chinese dances, crosstalk, comedy sketches and rhythmic gymnastics.
Shan Mengxuan, a sophomore who is studying economics at the university, liked the best songs mashup performed by a young Chinese actress called Ouyang Nana and electric guitarist Liu Jiakai of the popular Indie band Sodagreen from China's Taiwan.
"Watching this gala is part of my personal celebration of the Spring Festival in the United States," Shan told Xinhua. "I think such an event is of great significance, because it makes me feel an atmosphere of homeland (in America) and helps ease my homesickness."
The gala aimed at displaying traditional Chinese culture, especially contemporary Chinese youth culture to the world, said Zhao Erfei, director of the gala, as a majority of the 14 programs were presented by students and alumni of the university.
The production team arranged a traditional Chinese dance called "Cheng," meaning inheritance in Chinese, as the opening program, which featured Chinese drummers and dancers performing with red silk.
"We selected programs that are in line with our theme," said Zhao, a second-year postgraduate studying social work at the university. "We hope the show would not only make Chinese audiences feel the warmth of motherland, but also draw American audiences."
Zhang Xu, a woman who has lived in New York City for nearly 19 years, said she was very happy to watch the gala. "The festive atmosphere of the Lunar New Year has been growing more and more in recent years in New York. It's also part of my celebration of the Spring Festival," said Zhang, an investment manager at the New York City-based Aurora Investment Group.
It was the first time for Huang Liying, a software developer at Pennsylvania State University, to watch the Spring Festival gala at the university. "The event makes me feel a connection between China and the United States," she said.
The gala was held by the Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association which was established in 1996 and is the largest non-governmental organization for Chinese students and scholars in the United States and one of the most influential Chinese organizations.