Hongxia Wei, club leader Photo credit: Alvin Tsang

On the Wednesday before changing from year of the pig to year of the rat, Algonquin College’s Chinese cultural club welcomed new members in E-building.

The club celebrated Chinese New Year early by hosting a dumpling lunch, a short tea ceremony, several rounds of Chinese checkers, a calligraphy lesson and more.

The tea ceremony was performed by Hongxia Wei, club leader and student in business management and entrepreneurship. A Chinese scroll was rolled out across the table in the room to act as an alter to the ceremony, and tea was served to honour guests. Guests enacted Emperor Qian Long’s tap-two-fingers custom as they waited for their teacups.

“This ceremony acts as a bridge between cultures,” said Wei. “I want to share my culture with you and learn about yours. Only then can we understand each other.”

Wei’s mission was to help Chinese students feel welcome on campus and also to share Chinese customs with anyone who might like to learn them. Every one of the 22 attendees said they were there to make new friends.

They all travelled far from home to study at the college. Some felt isolated in their classes. Some felt homesick. Chinese Cultural Club was a space for them to reconnect to their roots and feel at home.

“This is literally one of my favourite clubs,” said Sienna Benson, clubs and communities coordinator, with chopsticks in hand and a fried dumpling between them. She fully backed Wei’s mission and personally attended the club whenever she could.

Chinese Cultural Club began in a small basement of someone’s home, but in its newest incarnation, it looked grand. The room was decorated with banners and calendars, Chinese artifacts and jars of exotic snacks. For information on the next meeting, please visit: https://www.algonquinsa.com/event/meeting-chinese-cultural-club-40/