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Lunar New Year Holiday Offers Culturally Rich Events


Celebrating a belated Lunar New Year holiday, students and faculty came together for two culturally rich nights of Chinese traditions, food, and entertainment. The Chinese department hosted a dinner with student performances while the Asian Student Association  (ASA) held a dinner and film screening.

Nearly all of the 70 Chinese students and faculty convened on Feb. 20 for the annual celebration dinner, hosted by senior Chinese majors Antonia Ng ’18 and Foley Simons ’18. Throughout the night, they engaged in witty banter (in Chinese before translating to English) and spoke about the history and importance of the holiday.

Twelve first-year Chinese students began with a party tradition, singing the popular children’s song “Gongxi Ge” to celebrate the incoming New Year. Audience members could see the Chinese lyrics to sing along and English translations on screen. Second-year students Baillie Riggs ’20 and Florence Zhan ’20 then sang along to “Everything” written by famous Chinese pop star Wang Lee Hom.

To end the night, the Chinese department passed out hongbao, or red envelopes, to each of the attendees. Each hongbao encased one renminbi, equivalent to the Chinese dollar. Used to offer good luck, the red envelopes were a way of wishing that all of the students had success in their personal and academic lives.

During the Asian Student Association’s celebration of the holiday, nearly 300 attendees gathered to enjoy a dinner of Chinese food and a screening of the popular Disney film Mulan. The event was organized by ASA executive board members Amanda Kim ’21, Kavya Crasta ’21, and Jonathan Dong ’21, who wanted to bring students together for the cultural holiday in an event they knew people would enjoy.

With colored lanterns and popular Chinese decorations adorning the table near the abundance of traditional food dishes, the room buzzed with people. Guests sat together at the tables spanning the Annex, enjoying a night of discussion and cultural entertainment.

Even beyond the holiday, the Chinese department and Asian Student Association hope to increase cultural awareness and celebration in future events with more people in the campus community.

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