Chinese New Year is an annual celebration that combines ancient traditions with modern day Chinese customs. You may wonder about the relevance of such a celebration in a community where the Asian alone population of the county is just 3.4%. But that is exactly why we continue to celebrate Chinese New Year. 69.57% of survey respondents said they were more likely to attend another cultural event and 65.22% were more likely to talk to their children about other cultures as a direct result of attending the event. That’s the sort of impact that we’re after when we celebrate Chinese New Year, Indian Independence Day, or Hispanic Heritage Month.
Gail Ravnitzky Silberglied encourages museums to be truthtellers and advocates by, “continuing to open their doors, share knowledge, engage new and diverse audiences, foster innovation, and retell the stories from our history.” One of the many ways that Discovery Center continues to serve as a truthteller is to highlight the rich history and traditions of other cultures. By creating opportunities that
allow guests to take a TaiChi class, watch a dragon dance, learn about Chinese ethnomusicology, practice chopstick skills, fold origami to celebrate the Year of the Dog, and meet people from other cultural backgrounds we can expand world views and open minds on a personal level.
This year’s Chinese New Year event served nearly 700 guests! A BIG thank you is in order for the Confucius Institute at MTSU (CIMTSU) and the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville. The Confucius Institute is a global exchange program with the Hangzhou Normal University of China and helps to promote collaboration between communities in China and Tennessee. CIMTSU facilitated several event activities including origami paper folding, calligraphy, willow pattern plate drawings, a traditional tea ceremony, and classes on Chinese music and instruments. The Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville (CAAN) is a group dedicated to promoting an understanding, appreciation, and awareness of Chinese visual arts. This year, the CAAN taught our young guests the praying mantis Tai Chi and performed a traditional Lion Dance. Chinese New Year and other cultural events at Discovery Center have been made possible through generous support from The Nissan Foundation.