The International Student Association kicked off the Year of the Tiger with their annual Lunar New Year celebration in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Ballroom on Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Students enjoyed a roomful of decorations on display, as well as plenty to do and try. A variety of Asian countries had booths around the room and offered samples of various traditional foods. Each booth also displayed fun facts about the country.
Large Events VP for International Affairs Brooklyn Jones explained their ideas behind the event.
“We have a really large Asian student population and multiple Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year in their own respective ways,” Jones said. “So instead of celebrating a Chinese New Year, we do a Lunar New Year to celebrate all of our students here.”
Perhaps the most popular attraction was boba tea provided by Lotus Tea, a local company run by David Nguyen, president of the Asian American Association. Nguyen also performed a lion song on his drum to ring in the new year with wealth and prosperity.
Elsa Christiansen, a senior at Cedar High School, performed “Red High Heels” in Chinese. She learned Chinese when she went on exchange to Taiwan and continued learning through the Confucius Institute, which is involved in teaching Chinese at her school.
“We have such a strong connection with a lot of sister schools that bring in a lot of international or exchange students for us,” Jones said. “This celebration lets everyone know our foreign students are here and to make sure they know they are welcome and wanted.”
The ISA also held competitions throughout the night including a kombucha drinking contest and a chopsticks game. Each attendee also received a red envelope, a Chinese custom for special occasions, with candy inside.
“It’s fun to watch our domestic students try to take on a very common practice from another group’s culture,” Jones said.
To wrap up the night, ISA rang a bell on a Buddhist altar 108 times to get rid of 108 types of human worries and passions and allow freedom going into the new year.
For more information on the International Student Association and their upcoming events, click here.
Story and photos by McKayla Olsen