On the evening of Saturday, Jan. 28, Lawrence celebrated the Lunar New Year—also known as the Chinese New Year—with food, activities and performances in the Warch Campus Center. The popular event was attended not only by Lawrence students, but by friends, families and other community members interested in celebrating and learning about New Year traditions around the world.
Performances throughout the night included the traditional Vietnamese Lion Dance, several dances by local Hmong dance group Nkauj Hmoob Ntsais Lias, as well as Vietnamese hip hop dance and drumming by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Okinawan Taiko Club. In between performances, international students shared how they typically celebrate the new year, as well as how to say “Happy New Year” in their language.
In recent years, the Lunar New Year celebration has expanded to celebrate a wider variety of traditions. For example, junior Tamanna Akram told of Bengali meals and festivals on Jan. 1, which does not fall on the Lunar New Year. “It feels great, because there are not a lot of opportunities (to share Bengali culture) at Lawrence, even though we have a lot of these events. It’s very rare to be able to share with a lot of people.”
Freshman Ben Tran explained this was his first experience celebrating the Lunar New Year outside of his home country of Vietnam. Tran said, “Our performance [the Vietnamese Lion Dance] slayed. This is truly an authentic Vietnamese thing.” Tran also enjoyed sharing traditional Vietnamese candies during the Cultural Expo.