Lunar New Year

Odds are many people, BC students included, have never heard of the Lunar New Year before. It’s a time of celebration and joy in many countries across Asia including Vietnam, Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

But why is it a different date than the typical New Years that the United States celebrates on January 1?

The Lunar New Year is the oldest and most important Asian tradition. Countries that follow the Lunar Calendar, which is different than our Solar Calendar, start the first day of each month on the darkest day. The Lunar New Year festival starts on this day and continues until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.

Since the Lunar calendar follows a different cycle than the Gregorian calendar we use, the Lunar New Year typically falls anywhere from late-January to mid-February. Also, because this is such an old tradition, this next year doesn’t mark the beginning of 2014 in the Lunar Calendar, but the year 4712.

From Tuesday, January 28th, to Saturday, February 1st, various events will be hosted around campus in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Each day will feature a different event open to the entire student body.

This major week came about as collaboration between Chinese Students’ Association (CSA), Korean Students’ Association (KSA), Southeast Asian Students’ Association (SEASA), Taiwanese Cultural Organization (TCO), and Vietnamese Students’ Association (VSA).

The breakdown of the week goes as follows:

Tuesday: Members of the clubs will be handing out “red envelope” bags filled with candy. Raffle tickets will be included in these bags and should be saved in anticipation of a big carnival celebration on Friday.

Wednesday: The clubs will be hosting a Zodiac Dating event. Students can come out and learn more about their zodiac signs, meet people, and EAT!

Thursday: Lower Dining will be serving Asian dishes so students can get a taste of some of the most common dishes in Asian countries.

Friday: The clubs will host a carnival in collaboration with Nights on the Heights (NOTH). The night will feature music by Electronic State of Mind (ESM), performances by various groups and booths with games hosted by the culture clubs.

Saturday: If you’ve never heard of dim sum, then you NEED to go to this event. Dim sum is a classic Asian brunch. Food is served in small portions and caterers walk around in carts serving it, so you never have to wait! This event is hosted in the Murray Function Room. It is the only event that costs money, but don’t wait because it’s in high demand. Where do students sign up?!

When asked about the purpose of bringing events such as these to BC’s campus, Ben Tan, President of the Southeast Asian Students’ Association, said, “We want the student body to experience certain celebrations that people from different cultures have for the New Year. We want to emulate the feeling of the New Year celebration in the Asian countries themselves.”

Features image courtesy of Flickr via John Tran.