Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern organizations provide ‘home away from home’ for Lunar New Year

On+Saturday%2C+the+first+day+of+Lunar+New+Year+celebrations%2C+close+to+500+students+flocked+to+the+Tech+Ryan+Auditorium+for+a+sold-out+Chinese+New+Year+Gala.
Kelly Luo/The Daily Northwestern
On Saturday, the first day of Lunar New Year celebrations, close to 500 students flocked to the Tech Ryan Auditorium for a sold-out Chinese New Year Gala.

During Lunar New Year, a traditional Chinese holiday that emphasizes family and togetherness, students on campus have found new ways to celebrate without family nearby. The 15-day celebration began on Feb. 10, ringing in celebrations like galas, parades and performances.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon. For Weinberg junior Sophia Huang the dragon’s connotation resonates closely with her and her family.

“My parents (texted) me about this,” Huang said. “They’re like, ‘It’s the Year of the Dragon. It’s a symbol of power, nobility and good luck. This will keep focus and the dragon will bring you power, confidence and wisdom.’”

On Saturday, the first day of Lunar New Year celebrations, close to 500 students flocked to the Tech Ryan Auditorium for a sold-out Chinese New Year Gala. The event included dance, music and stand-up comedy performances. 

Consulate-General of China in Chicago Zhao Jian made an appearance. 

On Feb. 11, the Chinese, Taiwanese American, Korean American and Hong Kong Students Associations hosted a Lunar New Year celebration, inviting students to celebrate over spring rolls, boba, buns and steamed rice crepes. Students socialized through games like Mahjong, Gong Gi, Jegichagi and Ddakji Origami.

Lunar New Year events extend beyond campus. On Feb. 17, One Book One Northwestern, Wildcat Welcome, Religious & Spiritual Life and Student Organizations and Activities will co-host a field trip to Argyle Street, where students will watch a parade and eat a dim sum lunch. 

Weinberg freshman Maddie Wang said she is looking forward to the trip. 

““I’ve never had the opportunity to go to a parade for Lunar New Year, so I’d love to go to one,” she said. 

Lunar New Year originated for agricultural purposes to welcome the arrival of spring in the Southern part of China, hence its alternative name, “Spring Festival.” The holiday has evolved to include many traditions such as handing children red envelopes called “hóngbāo” and preparing dumplings as a family. 

Asian languages and cultures Prof. Licheng Gu, the East Asia liaison in the office of the vice president for international relations, is the faculty advisor for the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. Gu said his favorite childhood memories of Lunar New Year include playing with fireworks and flying kites. 

“Symbolically, (flying kites) means you can fly high,” he said. “(This) means that your life, your career, your study will be ‘flying high’ and better in the coming year.” 

Gu made a speech at the gala on Saturday and gave students “blessings for the new year.” 

According to Gu, NU’s Lunar New Year events are especially heartwarming to the approximately 2,000 students and scholars from China, many of whom are unable to celebrate these traditions with their loved ones.

“Celebrating Chinese New Year at Northwestern is a big deal, and that comforts our Asian students who have to be away from their families,” he said. 

Email: [email protected] 

X: @LydiaPlahn13

Email: [email protected] 

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