Students celebrate Lunar New Year

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Members of the International Center gather under a calligraphy-bedecked umbrella.Photo credit: Arianna Ruvalcaba

Azusa Pacific’s International Center hosted Lunar New Year celebrations the week of Monday, Jan. 27. Festivities included a decoration party, Chinese calligraphy lessons and a “Dumpling 101” lesson. The celebration concludes with a dinner at Forward Church Saturday evening.

The Lunar New Year festival was extended from a one-day to a weeklong celebration to further encourage community between international and American students.

“That’s what I find beautiful. Individuals who are not internationals are still like, ‘Yeah, I can come to this and experience it and get something out of it,’ as opposed to something only for international students to celebrate,
” said Vijay Jacob, assistant director for International Students and Scholars. “We’re bringing diversity by bridging cultures.”

The calligraphy lessons were given on Cougar Walk Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Students learned to write phrases like “Happy New Year,” “Blessings” or “I am American.” Students could also learn to write their name or phrase of choice in Chinese or Japanese characters.

“It’s so amazing, just because you can get everyone involved in a culture they don’t know very well,” said freshman undeclared major Samantha Kang, a student of Chinese descent.

“Dumpling 101” was held Wednesday evening in the International Center. Graduate student Josh Xie led attendees in a Chinese prayer before teaching them how to properly make a dumpling. Afterward, students enjoyed their homemade cooked dumplings alongside Chinese candy and tea.

Dumpling 101

Students learn how to make dumplings at the International Center. This is a common tradition for many Asian cultures during the Lunar New Year Festival.Photo credit: Arianna Ruvalcaba

“We spend time with family and friends during Lunar New Year, just like your Christmas,” said American Language and Culture Institute international student Sandra Chen.

According to Chen, dumplings are a traditional food that symbolizes good fortune. When a family makes dumplings at midnight, she said, members carry their good fortune from one year to the next.