Students Celebrate Lunar New Year
This past weekend, people of Asian heritage all over the world celebrated the Lunar New Year, including students on Lawrenceville campus.
This past weekend, people of Asian heritage all over the world celebrated the Lunar New Year, including students on Lawrenceville campus. The Pan-Asian Alliance (PAA) and International Students Association (ISA) partnered with the Dumplings for Dreams club to host a Lunar New Year dinner event for students in the Bath House. Students came together to cook dumplings, eat Asian food, learn about the Lunar New Year, and celebrate as a community.
The ISA has held an annual Lunar New Year dinner only for international students in the past several years, but the PAA reached out to organize a larger event for this past Lunar New Year. Dumplings for Dreams hosted dumpling-making sessions and presented a slideshow about the Lunar New Year. “This past Lunar New Year celebrations were super successful because we had such a large number of students come out to celebrate,” PAA Co-President Sydney Chun ’21 said.
As a person of Korean heritage, Chun said, “as a boarder, it’s definitely more difficult to celebrate Lunar New Year with [her] family.” Whereas her family used to eat traditional Korean dinner on Lunar New Year’s Eve, now they celebrate over winter break, during the western New Year. On Lunar New Year, Chun uses FaceTime to do the traditional Korean bow for her parents and grandparents. She said, “Even though it’s not the same, we still find little ways to keep the traditions going.”
Not only did students celebrate the Lunar New Year at the on-campus dinner, but Chinese Masters celebrated within Chinese language classes as well. Chinese Master and ISA Faculty Advisor Yangyang Daniell said that it’s important to celebrate in class “because this is the only Asian language class on campus, and it’s the biggest traditional holiday for most East Asian countries.” She, along with the other Chinese language teachers, often bring students to their houses on campus, where they eat dumplings, discuss traditional Chinese celebrations of the Lunar New Year, and watch recordings of the Chinese Lunar New Year Gala. “We celebrate in class so we can learn about the culture, experience it, and share it,” she said.
In her family, Daniell keeps Chinese traditions alive by decorating the house with traditional red banners, inviting family and family friends over for dinner, and eating Chinese food.
Isabelle Lee ’21, Co-President of the Dumplings for Dreams club, said that she believes events like the dinner are important to the Asian students on campus because it “provides more of a home to Asian students on campus, [and] not only that, it… introduces other Lawrentians who are unfamiliar with Asian culture to a really special event.” She added that an event like this shows students “the importance of family and gathering in Chinese tradition”.
Looking forward, Chun said that she would like to have more celebrations or more notice around other Asian holidays at Lawrenceville. She said that there are so many more holidays celebrated by people around the world and by Lawrenceville students that the school doesn’t celebrate, “but I think we’re moving in the right direction. I’d like to see people move their perception of ‘East Asian’ from only Chinese, Korean, and Japanese to other Asian ethnicities as well.”