The Collegian
Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Lunar New Year: Students from different cultures welcome the new year with traditional games and performances

<p>Students play board game Ca Ngua which was organized by Vietnamese Student Association. Photo courtesy of Kim Lee Photography.&nbsp;</p>

Students play board game Ca Ngua which was organized by Vietnamese Student Association. Photo courtesy of Kim Lee Photography. 

The University of Richmond Student Center for Equity and Inclusion with support from International Education partnered for the first time with four student organizations - to celebrate Lunar New Year on Jan. 21 in the Queally Center.

Traditionally, Lunar New Year at UR has been celebrated separately by different clubs, but this was the first time the student organizations all came together.

The four student organizations that came together are the Korean American Student Association, Vietnamese Student Association, Chinese Students and Scholars Association and Asian American Student Association.

The night started with traditional Lunar New Year games and activities like Mahjong, Yut Nori and calligraphy and ended with Lunar New Year festivities including the lion dance, poetry reading and a performance from a K-pop dance group.

“This year, we wanted to bring them all together and work collaboratively to bring one big Lunar New Year event,” Dani Dho-Roberts, Associate Director at SCEI and one of the main organizers of the event, said. “This was an opportunity for us to share what Lunar New Year looks like for different cultures.”

One of the biggest aspects of Lunar New Year is that families come together to play games. Five games from different parts of China, Vietnam and Korea were played at the event. 

“We wanted to showcase games from different countries so that folks that come from the various countries and cultures could feel represented and have a fun pastime,” Dho-Roberts said.

Students largely enjoyed the celebration.

“I feel like this kind of happiness and feeling of coming together for the New Year is the best,” Senior Lisa Feng, who was part of one of the dance performances, said.

The night ended with multiple performances. Some performances included a student playing the saxophone, another student doing a traditional poetry reading, and finally, the lion dance: a traditional New Year dance that mimics a lion’s movements in a large costume meant to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck.


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The final event of the evening was the Lion Dance. Photo courtesy of Kim Lee Photography. 

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“The lion dance is usually the highlight of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and I loved how the dancers interacted with the audience,” Senior Sarah Jhao said.

Both students expressed gratitude and shared how the game night atmosphere reminded them of home back in China. 

The entire night reminded Jhao of celebrating New Years at home, she said. 

“I believe we should hold it every year, especially since this is a great opportunity for us to share our culture with students who do not know much about the Lunar New Year,” Jhao said. 

Contact international editor Ahona Anjum at ahona.anjum@richmond.edu. 

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