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ASU Celebrates Lunar New Year

Samantha Yang, Reporter

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Decorative red envelopes shone in the sunlight as the scent of dumplings wafted through the atmosphere. Drums, crackling, and delighted gasps filled the air as people walked through the courtyard, sipping boba.

On Feb. 15, the Asian Student Union hosted this cultural experience at Pres to give students a taste of Lunar New Year. However, Asian cultures have much more to offer in terms of celebration, and each culture has unique subtleties in the way they celebrate.

For example, in China Lunar New Year is called Chinese New Year, and the celebration lasts until the lunar month’s 15th day. The Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner is special since it is the dinner of the most significance of the year.

In Vietnam, the celebration is called Tet, which is usually celebrated for three days. A special dish called banh chung is served, which is a cake of rice, pork and beans. Koreans celebrate Seollal, wearing traditional attire like a Hanbok and doing ancestral rituals.

The differences can be very nuanced. For example, in China, red envelopes with money are given out, but in Korea, money is presented in bags made of silk.

Despite differences that may seem large between the cultures, similarities still exist.  For instance, the color red is used for good fortune. “It’s all kind of similar,” said Asian Student Union Co-President Sofia Basilio. “Most of it is very China influenced I think, mainly with the dragon dancing as well as the lanterns and the red envelopes.”

Special dishes, celebrations, clothing, and dancing are all integral to each culture. According to Asian Student Union Co-President Vivian Le, “Vietnam was colonized by China for pretty much a thousand years, so we celebrate Lunar New Year similar to how the Chinese would celebrate it, with firecrackers, lion dancing, the red envelopes and traditional foods.”

Amidst all the differences and similarities, students at Pres still enjoy the Lunar New Year, no matter how they celebrate.

Le said, “We’re here to respect our ancestors, celebrate the New Year, the coming of spring, and in modern day, we’re proud of who we are, and it’s a chance to . . . celebrate your culture.”

“Out of all the holidays, I like Lunar New Year because . . . you get money . . . and also, getting to try traditional food,” junior Mindy Duong added. “That’s pretty unique. We don’t have . . . banh chung . . . we only get to try that only once a year, so that’s why it’s unique to us.”

Pride in heritage exists, no matter what culture a person is. Le said, “I feel like modern day celebrations do include a lot of . . . pride for your country and your culture and who you are.”

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