On Jan. 30 and Jan. 31 in the BC cafeteria, the International Student Association put on the annual Lunar New Year Celebration. Also in association was the Photography Club, who provided a photo booth for students.
The whole concept of the Lunar New Year is to celebrate family, food, love and fun. Although direct family wasn’t exactly present, the ISA made sure to make the event feel as welcoming and fun as possible. There was colorful and authentic Asian food, Chinese themed items for sale, and dragon dancers dancing to traditional music. In China, the festival and celebration is known as the “Spring Festival” which is the literal translation of the name. The festival is the longest celebration on the Chinese calendar.
The origin of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, was to show honor and love upon deities and ancestors. The Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and more.
Dong Shin Gwak, the Documentation Coordinator for ISA, made a point of emphasizing that the Lunar New Year is all about family and the celebration of love.
“All the family gathers together, at the grandparent’s or parent’s house and we just share the food we all made together. We just share love and talk about how we are doing and how the past year went,” said Gwak.
Even before the actual Lunar New Year is here, Tracy Nguyen, member of the ISA, states that family is gathering together in order to prepare for the Lunar New Year with cooking and decorating.
“Lunar New Year is when we celebrate according to the lunar calendar. It’s the time for family to get together and hang out. Basically, we eat the traditional food that we don’t really eat all year. We get money too, in red envelopes, to ring in the New Year,” said Nguyen.
In addition to the cooking and decorating, those who participate in the Lunar New Year also prepare an alter to show their ancestors that they’re grateful for them and appreciate them.
In China and other Asian countries, it is common for families to come together on the first day of the Lunar New Year and have a reunion dinner. In addition to this, families will also perform a sort of “cleansing” on their homes. The purpose of this is to sweep away any bad luck or misfortune in order to make room for any incoming good luck. It is also common for homes to be decorated in red paper cut-outs symbolizing good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity.
Many of the items for sale and celebration decorations were floral printed or cherry blossom prints. In Vietnam during the Lunar New Year, there will be entire streets covered in flowers and anything else floral that you can imagine, said Nguyen.
Jessica Byun, member of ISA, had nothing more to say than, “The food is my absolute favorite part of the Lunar New Year.”
Even for those who aren’t a part of Asian culture, the Lunar New Year celebration put on by the ISA every year is a valuable event for every student to attend.