A variety of Lawrence clubs focused on Asian culture and more collaborated to throw a celebration for the Lunar New Year on Saturday, Jan. 25. The festivities were hosted in Warch’s Esch Hurvis Room and included traditional Asian foods, club-run tables hosting activities and live music and dance performances.
While many Americans might be unfamiliar with the Lunar New Year, it is, “One of the most important holidays of the year in many Asian countries,” a blurb on the event program said. “[Lunar] New Year’s Eve lands on the last day of the year according to the Lunar Calendar [based on the 29-to-30-day monthly cycles of the moon], and the national holiday will last until the 15th of the first month.”
Lunar New Year is generally known as a holiday of family. Families often will put up decorations in their homes, clean their houses to dispel “bad luck,” cook traditional meals and gift red envelopes of lucky money to loved ones.
For those familiar with Chinese Zodiac animal signs, the Lunar New Year signals the change from the previous year’s sign to a new one. 2020 will be the year of the rat, while 2019 was the year of the pig.
The Lawrence event began with three live performances. The Tay Phuong Lions from Savage, Minn., performed a lion dance – a traditional Chinese dance form involving elaborate lion costumes. A group called Taikoza from New York City performed a modern musical take on traditional Japanese music which featured Japanese Taiko drums and bamboo flutes. And a local competitive dance team called Nkauj Suab Nag from Appleton performed a Southeast-Asian inspired dance.
After the performance, the Lawrence Chinese Student Association, Japanese Students Group, Korean Cultural Club, Lawrence International Club, Pan-Asian Organization (PAO), Vietnamese Cultural Organization and Friendship Family Program all hosted tables at a cultural expo.
Tables featured a variety of activities from calligraphy drawing and origami folding to decorating lucky red envelopes.
The expo featured a buffet that included sushi, dumplings, bulgogi, egg tarts and more.