Beginning a new year is always exciting, not only because it marks the end of a year full of experiences, but also because we get to celebrate the great traditions of our cultures with loved ones. For most people in America, a new year starts every first of January, but did you know that other countries celebrate New Year’s very differently?
In Asia, for instance, most cultures celebrate Lunar New Year and because of the great community of Asian students at Bellevue College, the international education office, in partnership with the Asian-Pacific Islander affinity coordinator, celebrated Lunar New Year in a variety of ways.
So here’s a brief recap of how these celebrations went.
When is Lunar New Year?
The Lunar New Year date is based on the date of the new moon, so it varies every year. 2022’s new moon was Tuesday, Feb. 1, and so the Lunar New Year celebrations began that same day. In some cultures, the celebration could last up to 15 days. Bellevue College celebrated on two days, Jan. 27 and Feb. 3. During these two celebrations, attendees learned how many countries celebrate Lunar New Year and how it differs from other New Year’s celebrations around the world.
Jan. 27: Online Cultural Lunch and Tang Yuan
Bellevue College’s first Lunar New Year celebration took place during a cultural lunch on Thursday, Jan. 27. During this session, Sunny, the Asian Pacific Islander student affinity coordinator from Malaysia, taught students how to make a delicious dessert that she and her family eat every Lunar New Year. Tang Yuan is a sweet rice ball made out of glutinous rice, flour, water, sugar and food coloring.
It’s very easy to make, and according to Sunny, it tastes like cotton candy! Besides learning how to make this delicious and simple dessert, every student that attended the meeting had the opportunity to receive a beautiful serving bowl as a Lunar New Year gift.
Feb. 3: Online New Year’s Around the World
The second celebration was held during a cultural lunch as well, but this time students had the opportunity to learn how different countries celebrate both New Year’s and Lunar New Year. This meeting was hosted by the global leaders and the International Student Association who presented different traditions and celebration rituals.
Some of the countries presented in the meeting that celebrate the Lunar New Year were Malaysia, China, Macau and Indonesia. Although these countries celebrate the same day, they all have different traditions, including food, drinks, rituals, beliefs and even the duration of the entire holiday.
During both sessions, students were very excited to know how other cultures celebrate the beginning of a new year and the great diversity that our college has.