Ateneo Celadon welcomed the Year of the Wooden Sheep in the best way it knows how: with a Chinese New Year (CNY) Festival for the whole university. For three days (i.e. February 17, 18, and 20), tents stood in the Zen Garden, waiting to give out treats and surprises to those who passed by. Students and teachers alike visited the different booths for a chance to get some tikoy or simply hang out under the shade of the great tree while watching the invited performers. The festivities led up to the culminating night that gave a semblance of how New Year is best welcomed: with the family, and in this case, the Celadon family.
The red tents were up and the booths were opened at 8:00 a.m. for the three days of the festival. Although it started out slow, it eventually picked up pace towards the end. From the wheel of fortune to the matrix to the freebies to the shooting to the fortuneteller, each booth offered one step closer to getting tikoy and a raffle draw. Invited performers—particularly the Wushu exhibitionists during lunch times and the dragon and lion dancers of Saint Jude Catholic School during the late afternoons—entertained the crowd. And fittingly, generous sponsor Nestle helped draw in a crowd on the final day despite the heat by giving out free ice cream. It was also on the 20th that the organization honored the tradition and encouraged everyone to wear red.
The celebration’s culminating night that evening carried over to the MVP Roofdeck. The floor was filled with diverse food from the caterers and a crowded photo booth to capture memories of the members of the Celadon family. Trivia games, nostalgic presentations, musical performances, a dragon dance, and a grander raffle ensured the participants of entertainment and prizes. The big winner of the night was none other than outgoing executive vice president Monique Ocampo, whom brought home an iPad mini. Other prizes included hopia, gift certificates, and power banks.
Newly-elected AVP for Cultural Affairs Eugene Andojoyan had this to say, looking back at the project he lead with Jannina, “CNY was a great experience. From the planning to the execution, everything was a blast Jannina and I started planning before first semester started. That was how excited we were for this. There were stress and problems. But then again, a lot of fun, excitement, and trust came in as well. It was an epic journey that I enjoyed every bit of.”
Jannina Ong, the newly-elected VP for Cultural Affairs, commented on the experience they wanted to achieve, “Last year was Celadon’s second year celebrating the CNY [after a long period of time]. Since the organization aims to promote the awareness of the Chinoy culture, Eugene and I wanted to make the Ateneo community have a Chinatown experience during the Chinese New Year without them leaving the campus. It’s like moving Binondo to Ateneo with the red tents and lanterns, the lively, bustling environment, and the different cultural performances that are uniquely Chinese-Filipino.”
“The CNY Festival celebrated the vibrant way of life of the Chinoy that helped usher the Ateneo community towards another wonderful new year!” said EG Dizon who was the VP for Cultural Affairs that year, and now the President.
Indeed, with the participants coming home with fond memories and prizes, and with the passersby having experienced some part of the Chinese-Filipino culture, A.Y. 2014-2015 neared its end by welcoming the Chinese New Year. It goes to show that there is no better way to start it but with a bang.
Written by Shannen Pua