By XIN RAO and ERIN HOLLOWAY
Editor: MICHELLE DANNER
Most international students have a difficult time fitting into a different culture. Experiencing different holidays can help students learn about American culture and know what to expect when they are invited to them in the future by their peers. In order to help students understand the American version of the Spring festival, UPP held an Easter celebration on Saturday, March 26th. Students from FLC (Foreign Language: Chinese) and WCCC (We-on Chinese Culture Club) also attended the event, providing UPP students a chance to practice their English.
Although the weather is a little bit chilly, 70% of our students attended the event from noon to 3pm in Pullen Park, a large public area next door to NC State. The park includes Lake Howell, paddle boats, a carousel, restaurant and a miniature train that guests can ride throughout the park. New Mind staff prepared 2 grills, as well as common picnic games and music. The food including grilled corns and eggplants, honey baked ham (famous Easter food), 200 chicken wings, fresh strawberries and an assortment of traditional Easter candies such as Cadbury Eggs, jelly beans and chocolate Robin eggs. Considering that the UT dining hall was closed for the holiday weekend, the students really appreciated the food.
“[The] chicken wings is very delicious” Cheng Wang said. “This is the most interesting event I have in this year!”
UPP staff also created a large poster explaining the essential icons, origins and traditions of Easter. The American tradition is a unique blend of secular beliefs from Easter’s pagan origins as a celebration of the Spring Equinox and fertility/rebirth, and the religious beliefs of Christianity that were added later, pertaining to Christ’s resurrection. Icons of the secular traditions include the Easter bunny, rabbits in general, eggs, and flowers (all symbols of rebirth), while religious icons include crosses and lambs (symbols of Christ).
While students enjoyed the food, several stations provided different traditional American games for students to experience. The most popular event was the Easter egg hunt! Students were divided into advising-group teams, each having to find the eggs of their team’s color. The team that found their eggs first would win, which prompted a lot of creative sabotages among the eight groups as they hunted all over the park for their eggs! Eventually, Caroline’s advising team succeeded, winning Freshberry gift cards for their group!
Students also participated in a chubby bunny contest, involving the iconic Peep candy. Students took turns putting one Peep after another and saying “chubby bunny,” if they were still intelligible, they added a Peep and tried again. Congratulations to Xiaorui Qu for her win of 5 Peeps, her prize being a large chocolate rabbit!
“I never play this before, or tried Peeps.” Xiaorui Qu said. “It was fun, but they are so sweet!”
Students also played several rounds of Capture the Flag throughout the park. Staff also provided 60 eggs for students to experience Easter Egg dyeing, and they produced beautiful work! They also enjoyed having cozy conversations as they gathered around the grill or helped cook.
“[It is] more relaxing than activities I had in China” Zekai Gong agreed.
By the time the event ended, some American students and UPP students grouped together to explore other parts of Pullen Park, such as renting pedal boats or riding the mini train around the park. UPP students that have made use of the Language Exchanges were happy to catch up with these American students.
“I greatly enjoyed the Easter event. I thought that there were a good variety of activities that not only expressed American Easter traditions but also common American activities in general.” Sarah Crawford said. “I liked having the chance to meet new people and learn about them.”