The room was full of lights, colors, food and festivities as the Lunar New Year event was held at USD. The Asian American Student Association (AASA) began celebrating the 15 days of the Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 17.
New Year’s festivities are usually associated with Dec. 31, but the Lunar New Year is based on the lunar calendar, so it typically falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. This year is the Year of the Dog, which is based on the rotating 12-year Chinese zodiac animal cycle where each year has its own animal.
AASA co-president and senior psychology major Madeline Vang said the Lunar New Year is an exciting time to share with her friends and family.
“The Lunar New Year is a celebration that is celebrated with family for 15 days, filled with delicious foods, gifts and bringing good fortune to the family for the new year,” Vang said.
Vang said she enjoyed incorporating more games and activities in the Lunar New Year celebration to get students involved.
“Instead of just having them see performances, we also included a competition activity as well as some games that are played from different Asian countries on the side for them to play and experience,” Vang said. “We thought of doing this event this year in a more informal way so that people can interact with each other.”
AASA co-president and senior medical biology major Xuyen Nguyen said this holiday is exciting every year because it’s always different.
“We are celebrating our relationships with family and friends and to spread good luck and fortune,” Nguyen said. “This celebration is what brings families and friends together.”
Usually, the AASA organizes traditional art and dance performances, but this year, they included more student involvement with games and activities.
Diane Na, a first-year psychology major, performed a traditional Korean dance at the celebration to show one of the many traditions of different Asian cultures. Na said she enjoyed dancing for the audience and being able to share part of her culture with the students.
“At home we always celebrate the Lunar New Year and here it’s different, but I feel like I’m at home here,” Na said.
The Lunar New Year is one of the many opportunities for USD students to experience a new culture.
AASA treasurer and junior finance major Roma Trivedi said one of the goals of the Lunar New Year celebration is to give students a look at a different way of life.
“We’re hoping to spread more of the Asian culture throughout campus,” Trivedi said. “Having a small Asian population on campus is kind of hard to uncover the different Asian cultures, so we’re hoping to be able to expose more knowledge about it.”