Lunar new year celebration returns to campus for the first time since 2020

Over 650 people attended the 10th Lunar New Year Celebration at Lakeside Patio on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.

The three-hour celebration was organized by both the Asia American Student Association (AASA) and the Chinese Student Association (CSA), from 6 to 9 p.m.

Students enjoyed the games, activities, food and performances. Each activity was hosted by one of seven participating Asian-affiliated student organizations. Once students completed four activities at the individual activity tents, they waited in line for the complimentary food and drinks.

Performers are seen on stage with various costumes during the lunar new year celebration.
Performers are seen on stage with various costumes during the lunar new year celebration. Photo credit: Sharron Lou

Dumplings, sushi, noodles and boba tea were among the many dishes served at the celebration.

“There are seven different Asian affiliated student organizations who had activities so we were so happy to collaborate with them and obviously give them a bigger stage to promote and talk about their culture,” AASA external vice president and senior Bao Duong said. “Then on the other end, just having all these performances by student and professional organizations and different types of affiliates in the area was amazing.”

This year’s celebration was the first at UM since the COVID-19 pandemic first began in 2020. The event was canceled just days before its planned date last academic year amidst a surge of cases.

“I imagine that this was an event that people had missed last year, so it was fantastic that we got to come back for the 10th annual celebration of it,” AASA internal vice president Lauren Colaco said.

“It means so much not only to the people who are American born or the people who are in Asian clubs here, but also to the students who come from Asian countries to see their own culture represented here and to make sure they’re not left out of the conversation,” Colaco said.

Performances included professional acts from “Lee Koon Hung Lions” and “Fushu Daiko” with lion dances and traditional drum performances.

Student dance groups, “Love of Chinese Korean and Eastern Dances” and “VDance” also performed and musical performances came from members of UTaal, Lydia Chen, Jeremy Chi and Scott Zheng.

In addition, several speeches were given throughout the event including speeches from UM senior vice president of student affairs, Patricia Whiley and student hosts, Summer Xia and Ann Sia.

In their speech, Xia and Sia highlighted the importance of cultural celebration and unity amidst rising xenophobia towards the Asian community.

“Someone can really take time to learn about a different culture, but then also understand how your new years might be very similar to mine,” Duong said. “You know, it’s the idea of celebrating pride and diversity and trying to learn about your peers.”