Lunar New Year Festival: Starting off with community

The spirit of the Lunar New Year Festival was amplified by the unceasing energy of Tribal Theory. Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER

On Tuesday, Jan. 31 in HUB 302, Asian Pacific Student Programs (APSP) hosted the Lunar New Year Festival in celebration of Chinese New Year. The stage was set at the front of the room for student song and dance performances and the main act: An urban reggae band named Tribal Theory. The walls were lined with golden rooster cutouts and tables were centered with glass vases filled with gold rocks and red ribbon.

Upon entry, half of the room was lined with tables, each hosting a new club on campus showcasing Asian Pacific culture. From an origami club to those centering around traditional Asian dances, there was something for students not only of Asian descent but also those simply interested in learning about different Asian cultures.

Third-year Asian studies major Ruby Krause was overseeing the origami club’s table, teaching intrigued students how to make a paper crane. When asked about her own interest in participating in the event, she commented, “Our club wants to share the art (of origami) and give a stress relief for our members.” As students stopped by to learn the craft, they smiled and laughed along with their friends, achieving a new skill within an art form that has a rich history — origami was originally intended to display Japan’s nobility during weddings as sacred objects.

She continued to say that she felt welcomed in this event despite not being of Asian descent. “Right now in our world, it’s all about communities. Anybody can come (to the event) even though it’s centered around an overall community.” The sense of community flowed through the veins of the event.

The audience was entertained with a Chinese dragon dance, a Korean pop group dance, solo singers, another group performance of Polynesian dance, Chinese martial arts and taiko drumming, all of which were performed by on-campus Asian culture organizations.

First-year chemistry major Noelle Rosales and second-year media and cultural studies major Edith Gonzalez raved about the performances.

“The performances were really nice. You get a chance to have people see what your club does and what they could do if they’re interest(ed),” Gonzalez stated. Rosales agreed that the performances were more effective than the usual tabling most clubs do by the Bell Tower.

Right now in our world, it’s all about communities. Anybody can come (to the event) even though it’s centered around an overall community.”

As Chinese New Year is mainly celebrated within Asian culture, Rosales, a Filipino student, discovered the different ways each culture celebrates the holiday, sharing, “I celebrate Chinese New Year as a Filipino, but it’s interesting to hear how a different culture celebrates.” She gave an example by describing that her experience with HallyUCR, an on-campus organization, provided insight into how Korean culture celebrates holidays with various traditions such as children’s games, flying kites and playing on seesaws.

From solo singing acts to traditional dance teams, the crowd was flowing with appreciation and calls for more entertainment. After a few dance routines, the emcees of the night, dressed in traditional royal blue and gold Chinese attire, beckoned the crowd in their seats to come forward and receive prizes of pocket notebooks and water bottles. The crowd was eager to receive these gifts as they were thrown to them before they settled down for the main performance of Tribal Theory.

The band lit up the auditorium, giving each attendee a boost of energy that was needed toward the end of the event. The group started off with a bang, getting the crowd off their feet and grouping together in a large mosh pit of dancers. People grabbed other attendees, sharing in their enjoyment while the music filled the room. The energy was so strong that the people who were running tables also joined in on the dancing.

By the end of the event, groups of students from all cultures were left ringing in the new year with dancing and in a community that welcomed everyone and anyone who takes bliss in the hope of the year ahead. The Lunar New Year event wasn’t just a focus on one aspect of Asian culture but all types of cultures coming together as one in celebration.

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