On Feb. 5, 2019, Siena College welcomed in Chinese New Year with the help of the Asian Student Association at the Sarazen Student Union. The Year of the Pig was celebrated with tasty food, vibrant decorations and a presentation on the background of the holiday.
Chinese New Year, otherwise known as the Spring Festival, is a three-week long celebration that begins with Little Year in late January and continues until the Lantern Festival, which occurs in the middle of February. Each day has specific celebratory activities like cleaning the home, cooking special dishes or giving gifts to family and neighbors. Because the holidays follow the lunar calendar, the New Year begins on what is considered the first New Moon of the year sometime between January 21 and February 20.
ASA decorated the room with bright red lanterns and Spring Festival Couplets, which are signs placed on doors meant to keep away evil spirits. The color red is used because it represents happiness and good fortune to the Chinese people. Among the decorations, students could enjoy a photo booth while holding up traditional decorations a well as other fun New Year props.
The highlight of the night was the food brought in from Hong Kong Bakery. Students filled their plates with dishes including fried rice, chicken and beef skewers, lo mein and spring rolls. Along with the food, ASA gave out their version of lucky red envelopes. Usually full of money, they were stuffed with Asian candies. The event received a great turnout, but that, unfortunately, meant that the food ran out much more quickly than expected.
While the students enjoyed their meals, ASA Vice President, Jasmeen Johal, showed a presentation on the Chinese zodiacs. There are 12 animals that represent each year, beginning with the rat and ending with the pig. Each zodiac has unique characteristics and compatibility with other zodiac animals. 2019 is the Year of the Pig. Pigs are energetic and realistic, however, they have a tendency to be materialistic. They are most compatible with Tigers but may not get along with Snakes or Monkeys. The ASA President, Nabila Ahkter, believed that the event was a success, stating, “The students not only got to eat good food, but they also received a cultural experience about Chinese New Year.”
Make sure to keep your eyes open for other exciting ASA events on Saints Connect and the Daily Digest. Xīn nián kuài lè! Happy New Year!