We are happy to announce that VIU Students have formed a new student organization : The Oriental Club. This club represents East Asian students studying at VIU and includes students from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea, Taiwan, and China. More than 100 students of oriental descent are presently studying at VIU.

The main goal of VIU’s Oriental Club is to host a variety of activities to help students build friendships, break down English language barriers and enhance academic skills. The Oriental Club will host discussion sessions every Friday from 1pm – 2pm for the purpose of learning and discovering more about US culture and exchanging information. On November 18, 2011, The Oriental Club held their first meeting which featured Mr. John Bennett, Associate Vice President of University Affairs and Director of Library. Mr. Bennett gave an overview of the meaning of the coming Thanksgiving holiday.

According to various internet sites, including Wikipedia.org, Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. “Thanksgiving originated from a mix of European and Native traditions. Typically in Europe, festivals were held before and after the harvest cycles to give thanks for a good harvest, and to rejoice together after much hard work with the rest of the community. At the time, Native Americans had also celebrated the end of a harvest season. When Europeans first arrived to the Americas, they brought with them their own harvest festival traditions from Europe, celebrating their safe voyage, peace and good harvest. Though the origins of the holiday in both Canada and the United States are similar, Americans do not typically celebrate the contributions made in Newfoundland.”

Mr. John Bennett informed the club that, “Thanksgiving is a family holiday in the U.S. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, with about 40 million Americans travelling annually. Americans meet with family members to give thanks for the blessings in their lives, before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.  This holiday is a four-day or five-day weekend vacation for schools and colleges. Most business and government workers are given Thanksgiving and the day after as paid holidays.” He pointed out that “there are three main events held on Thanksgiving Day in the US. First, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been held annually from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square, and televised nationally by NBC since 1924. Secondly, American Football is important part of the celebration in United States. Lastly, people stay at home and enjoy watching many special television programs dedicated to the Thanksgiving holiday. The day following Thanksgiving Day is called Black Friday, and is traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On Black Friday, people shop, visit with family and friends, and watch football on TV.”

In addition, the Oriental Club wants to welcome students of VIU into the club meetings and events. Participating in the events of the Oriental Club will enable students to share ideas with a diverse group of students, cultures, and will create opportunities for students studying at VIU. If you want to join the Oriental Club at VIU, please send us an email at orientalclub@campus.viu.edu. The Oriental Club thanks Mr. John Bennett for sharing the tradition of Thanksgiving with them at their meeting.

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