OISS celebrates Lunar New Year with open mic event
The event, part of Connecticut’s Lunarfest celebration, drew over 100 participants for spoken word poetry performances on Saturday afternoon.
Ophelia He, Staff Photographer
To salute the Year of the Rabbit, over 100 New Haveners and Yale community members attended the Office of International Students & Scholars for an afternoon of open mic performances on Saturday.
The event, which lasted from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., was hosted by the Yale-China Association and OISS and sponsored by Long Wharf Theatre. The open mic featured Yale student groups, including Yale’s official Asian and Asian-American spoken word group Jook Songs. Several local artists in New Haven also attended the performance.
The Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the lunar calendar year and is a very important holiday in many Asian cultures. The Open Mic on Saturday took place as part of the 11th year Celebration of the moon festival in Newhaven.
“This was the first time we’ve actually worked officially with Long Wharf Theater and I’m thrilled to be involved,” said Molly Hampton, Associate Director of Engagement at OISS. “We have a great relationship with Yale-China, I think we will continue this cooperation and hopefully this type of event will be bigger and better next year.”
Hampton said OISS has a long-standing partnership with the Yale-China Association and has hosted several Lunarfest events in the past.
Sebastian Chang ’23 performed an open mic rap song, “From a Rooftop in Chinatown,” whose lyrics addressed anti-blackness in the Asian community. Chang said it was wonderful to see both black and Asian cultures represented at the event.
Several local independent black artists also attended the event, including Sun Queen. Queen is a poet, social and racial justice organizer and co-founder of Black Lives Matter New Haven. The Sun Queen spoke about the importance of the Lunar New Year in terms of celebrating peace, love, freedom and prosperity.
“This event was fantastically put together and I’m grateful to have been invited here,” Queen said. “I’m thankful for the Chinese New Year because it gives you time with your reflections, your manifestations, whatever your goals, to just learn about yourself… and also how to show yourself more effectively, gracefully, and collaboratively.” ”
She added that the New Year is an important opportunity for people to stop and take time to learn where they come from, who they are and what they want.
“It’s wonderful that people from different backgrounds come here to share their stories,” said Wenshi Wang, who is from China and is attending the open mic.
Wang said she was excited to see people from different cultures celebrate the event together.
“It was the first time we participated in this kind of Chinese festival and it was incredible for me,” said Mansour Toorani, an Iranian native from New Haven who attended the event. “I didn’t know that at first.”
Toorani added that this is his first year in the United States and he hopes to familiarize himself with other cultures.
The event marked the first in-person Lunarfest celebration OISS has hosted since the pandemic.
“It’s been really nice to see this come back in person,” Hampton said.
The Long Wharf Theater is a local theater in New Haven, established in 1965.