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Traditions celebrated at Dragon Boat Festival

By MINGMEI LI in New York | | Updated: 2024-06-10 11:27
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Brenda He is wearing hanfu and is adorned with ornate hairpieces on her head while celebrating her coming-of-age ceremony on Saturday at the Glow Cultural Center in Flushing, Queens, New York, where she has served as a community volunteer for three years. MINGMEI LI / China Daily

Under the watchful eyes of guests, Brenda He slowly walked to the center of the stage. Dressed in a turquoise hanfu and gradually adorning her head with ornate hairpieces, she completed her coming-of-age ceremony, witnessed by the community she serves.

For her, the event on Saturday was special, as she celebrated the big day with her family and friends in a traditional Chinese Han-style ceremony, coinciding with the Chinese traditional Dragon Boat Festival.

"I really like being a part of the Chinese culture. Honestly, this is my first time working with a hanfu, but they've always been part of our event, and I'm grateful for that," the 17-year-old told China Daily. "That's my heritage."

"I plan to wear my hanfu for my high school graduation that's in a few weeks," she said. Brenda said hanfu is good for big days like graduation and becoming an adult. "Hanfu is something that not everyone knows about, so we set up the hanfu club to spread our culture more," she said.

As a Chinese American, Brenda has served as a student volunteer for three years, promoting Chinese art and culture in the Queens borough of New York City. She is also one of the recipients of the 2020 President's Community Service Award.

"I really love working with the community and with my volunteers," she said. "They're also my motivation to keep going."

Born and raised in the United States, Brenda said she was not that "cultured" at the beginning, but found that serving the Chinese community is also a path for her to learn about herself, her identity and her community.

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