On Friday, Feb. 12, students, faculty and community members gathered to celebrate a 4,000-year- old tradition: Lunar New Year.
Many may be familiar with the bigger traditions associated with Lunar New Year, such as the lion dances, the red envelopes and the Lantern Festival. But what many, especially those who may not be familiar with Eastern Asiatic cultures, may not know, is that Lunar New Year is one of the biggest festivals in the East.
“It would be like if you go to China to celebrate Christmas, a lot of Chinese people wouldn’t quite grasp how big Christmas is in the U.S.,” said senior and vice president of Chinese Club Celine Yip. “But it is a major event in a lot of Asian countries. It’s really widely celebrated and it has most things that you would imagine a large holiday to have; seeing family that you want to see and sometimes don’t want to see, seeing relatives that you barely know, eating a ton of food and getting together with friends.”
Lunar New Year is a tradition that started with a legend where a giant beast, Nian, would eat children and villagers.
To protect themselves from the Nian, the villagers discovered the Nian did not like the color red or firecrackers.
For years to come, villagers would wear red, fill red envelopes with money as gifts to their children, have red screens on their windows and paint their doors red.
From then on, the Nian never bothered villagers again.
Lunar New Year is a 15 day celebration that lasts from the first new moon that falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 and ends with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month.
According to professor of World Languages, Lily Tsang, Lunar New Year is a time of celebration of the start of the upcoming year and a time of traditions.
It’s a time where red symbolizes luck, elders give red pouches filled with an even amount of money to their children to give them luck in the new year and a time to spend with family.
This year, the Qiling Club of China, World Languages Department and the Office of International Programs worked together to bring a celebration of the Lunar New Year to the Pacific campus, complete with chinese yo-yos, food, red envelopes, calligraphy and a traditional lion dance.
“There was a lot more involvement from multiple clubs this year,” said Yip. “Everyone I think really loved the lion dancing and the dancers were so nice and really experienced. I was talking to them after and some were telling me that they had been dancing for ten or 16 years and that it is something that they do outside of their regular lives.”
Although the Lunar New Year celebration has been a tradition at Pacific, for Assistant Director of International Programs Katelyn Eisenhooth, this was her first year participating in Pacific’s celebration.
“I think the entire event was amazing, having the students help decorate and help run the event was something I really enjoyed,” said Eisenhooth. “I think we were able to make a well-rounded event. I was really quite honored to work with Chinese club and world languages chinese programs.”
Although the celebration ended only recently, Eisenhooth is already looking forward to next year’s celebration and how to continue to grow the festivities.
“[This year’s] was so successful I am wondering where we go from here, but I think one of the keys will be the students,” said Eisenhooth. “I am always amazed to see what they come up with with ideas and thoughts and suggestions. I hope it is just as successful and just as fun next year.”