By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
OSKALOOSA — Thursday was Chinese New Year’s Eve, so the Chinese student delegation visiting Oskaloosa this past week put on a talent show of Chinese culture for Oskaloosa Middle School students to enjoy.
Nineteen Chinese middle school students, their English teacher and principal traveled from the Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China. The city is near Beijing. The students performed traditional Chinese arts ranging from fan dancing to Chinese paper cuts in the George Daily Auditorium before a capacity crowd of their American peers.
Musco Lighting Director of Asian Sales Albert Liu addressed the audience before the talent show began. Liu served as a liaison between Chinese and Oskaloosa school officials to organize the visit.
“Today is a special day — it’s New Year’s Eve,” he said. Since there is a 14-hour difference between Oskaloosa and China, it was already New Year’s Day in China, he added.
The Chinese calendar uses 12 animals to give years special meaning. The new year is the Year of the Horse, Liu said.
“It’s a time for families,” Liu said of Chinese New Year. “Food is No. 1.”
The traditional Chinese food for New Year’s is the Chinese dumpling, he said.
“It’s important to make food,” he said. All family members — parents, grandparents and children come together to make dumplings and then eat them together, he added.
Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School Principal Pei Hongxia also addressed the audience before the performance.
“It is my great pleasure to bring my students here to visit this great city,” she said.
Pei said that Oskaloosa students and teachers were “wonderful” and the Chinese students have enjoyed spending time in the classroom as well as touring different parts of Oskaloosa. She said the most exciting thing for her students was to ride in the tractor Tuesday afternoon.