Doane hosts Lunar New Year celebration
This past Monday was not your traditional Monday night on the Doane campus. Nyrop Hall was filled with music, food, and fun as Doane’s celebration of the Lunar New Year was held.
Friday, February 16 marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival.
2018 is the Year of the Dog, which stems from a zodiac animal that rotates on a year-to-year basis. According to Asian astrology, your year of birth, and the animal it represents determine a lot about your personality traits. Anyone born in an Earth Dog year (2018) will be communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace.
Students and members of the community were welcomed to take part in the festivities on campus Monday, which included Chinese dishes and dumplings, drummers, and education on what this time means to the Chinese community.
“It’s always a fun event, it’s a way to celebrate the upcoming of spring,” said Courtney Bruntz, director of the Asian studies program at Doane. “In China it’s called spring festival because you are ushering in spring. You are bringing about renewal and rebirth. It’s a fun time to get together and to support our greater Asian communities in Nebraska.”
The Lunar New Year begins on a different day each year and is determined by the Chinese lunar calendar. Spring Festival, which lasts 15 days, includes auspicious foods, fireworks, and many celebrations.
“The significance of the Lunar New Year has more depth than the new year we celebrate in America,” Jake Hoy-Elswick, director of international programs at Doane, explained. “Here it’s more of a social celebration as opposed to the Lunar New Year which has a deeper meaning.”
Dozens of students and members of the community were at the event on Monday. Hoy-Elswick says over 100 people have been in attendance each of the last two times Doane has held this event.
Food that is appropriate to the event was served, including dumplings, which are considered to be very lucky because they symbolize wealth. Fish and noodles were also served, which represent a long life because they are long in size.
Qianqian Du ’19 said her favorite part of the event was the food. “It was so good,” Du said. “It made me feel like I was back home. After the event, I called my parents and told them I ate dumplings in America, I was so excited!”
Chen Wang ’18 agreed that his favorite part of the event was eating Chinese food with so many other students, giving him a feeling of being with family. “When I heard the drummers play, I was very excited and almost cried,” Wang said. “As a Chinese student, I felt the culture of my own country. On this special day, I was very moved and proud.”
“We are a diverse campus, we do have students from different cultures, and Asian studies is so valuable to our campus,” Hoy-Elswick said. “It’s an opportunity to see what the students have learned in the classroom and to interact with other students that come from other cultures where this is a holiday they would celebrate. Part of Doane’s mission is to prepare students to become global citizens and this helps us accomplish that mission.”
“From a cultural point of view, as a Chinese student, I feel that Doane attaches great importance to Chinese students,” Wang said. “From the perspective of American students, it is also a good opportunity to learn about the cultures of other countries. This celebration is a good testimony of cultural exchanges between China and the United States and a bridge of our friendship.”