NEW YORK, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The great hall of the Chinese Consulate General in New York was filled with joyful laughter, beautiful melodies, and the smell of dumplings on Sunday night.
Some 200 Chinese, U.S. and other international college students gathered here for a Lunar New Year Gala to welcome the Year of the Rat.
From making dumplings, writing Chinese calligraphy to solving riddles, the diverse program of the evening provides an authentic Chinese culture experience for the attendees from universities in New York and neighboring cities and states.
Chinese Consul General in New York Huang Ping showed the students how to make dumplings step by step, including dough-making, rolling the dough into wrappers and sealing the wrappers.
Thelma Gonzalez, who came to New York from Mexico four years ago, enjoyed making dumplings because it reminds her of making the hispanic food empanada, though the ways of wrapping are different.
She is embarking on her first China trip next month to the eastern city of Wenzhou, and is looking forward to experiencing a whole new culture.
Dariel Bobadilla from the Stevens Institute of Technology told Xinhua that he found making dumplings "very difficult" but he is still happy for getting a chance to know more about Chinese traditions.
The engineering major got interested in the Asian country through his Chinese friends in college. "They are all very friendly and always ready to help others," he said. He now plans to visit the Chinese city of Shanghai with his classmates in the summer, where he could enjoy his favorite Chinese food, the steamed buns, which is also a famous Shanghai dish.
Holding a piece of "Fu," which he just wrote with a brush pen under the guidance of professionals, Bobadilla said he knew the character means fortune and luck and would stick the paper onto his door in a Chinese way of celebrating the Lunar New Year.
For Chinese students here, it was also a wonderful night to share their nostalgia. Dozens of them offered performances featuring dance, songs, Peking opera and Chinese instruments performing to demonstrate the love toward their motherland.
In his concluding remarks, Huang gave his sincere new year wishes to the students, and called on them to serve as the bridge of friendship between China and the United States.
He said that the future of the China-U.S. relationship relies on the youth today, and through learning from each other's culture, people will gain mutual understanding, which is the foundation of healthy bilateral ties.
"I also want to give my best wishes to the future of this relationship between China and the United States," he said. "By working together, we will make good things happen."