Harvard's Third Annual Children's Day Carnival

May 24, 2010

Any Harvard student walking into the Student Organization Center on April 10, 2010, would have found it nearly unrecognizable: the walls were decorated with posters and photos; red crepe paper and brightly colored flowers hung from the ceilings. Upbeat Chinese pop music played from the speakers, and tables full of arts and crafts dotted the rooms. But strangest of all, the floor was filled with children —buzzing with energy and full of laughter.

Welcome to Harvard China Care’s Children’s Day Carnival, which brought Harvard volunteers and families from the Boston area together for an event that celebrates children everywhere. This is the third year Harvard China Care has organized the Carnival, and, as always, it was a hit with children, parents and volunteers!

Combining the traditional and the modern, East and West, this year’s performances delighted the young and old alike. The Harvard Chinese Music Ensemble opened the stage, playing traditional Chinese tunes with Chinese instruments like the erhu, guzheng, and yangqin. The Harvard Din and Tonics performed for their third year in a row, followed by Harvard’s Asian American Dance Troupe, MIT’s Asian Dance troupe, & The Wellesley Wushu Club. The Harvard Magic Society and Harvard Story-Time Players finished the day with impressive card tricks and spellbinding storytelling.

Harvard volunteers also manned over sixteen booths of games and activities, which combined traditional Chinese games and activities with more familiar carnival activities. Children practiced calligraphy after getting their faces painted; they made their own Chinese shuttlecocks (known as jianzi) after getting their nails painted; they ate traditional Taiwanese shaved ice before heading over to the Dance Dance Revolution station.

New to Carnival this year was the make-your-own instrument booth, where children created instruments from straws, toilet paper rolls, beads, and string. And the new Nightmarket room attracted curious families with the good smells of make-your-own Taiwanese shaved ice, smoothies, and boba tea. By the end of the afternoon, everyone had their hands and bellies full, faces and nails painted, and arms and hands tattooed!

The Carnival also featured a popular raffle -- thanks to the support of businesses in Boston and Cambridge, including Godiva, Schoenhof’s Foreign Bookstore & Starbucks Coffee, the students were able to offer wonderful giveaways to the winners.

Best of all, Harvard China Care was able to fund the surgeries of two children at The China Care Home with proceeds from the Carnival.

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