Rabbits Invade US Colleges for the Spring Festival

by Jessica Stahl - Posts (449). Posted Monday, February 7th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Last week, Tara talked about celebrating the Chinese New Year at the University of Southern California.  Tara decided to let the holiday pass with little fanfare, although her campus Chinese Students Association throws a Spring Festival Gala with food and performances.

It’s not only at USC where you can find ways to get in the spirit of the new year.  The Lunar New Year is celebrated on college campuses across the U.S.

Check out Li’s great photos from Ohio State’s celebrations on his blog, East Peeks West.

At the University of Kansas, students recorded this video to welcome the Chinese New Year (if you look carefully, you may see someone you recognize!):

Sebastian says it was his first Chinese New Year celebration, but the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at KU makes the festival one of the biggest campus events of the spring semester.

The celebration’s main event had musical performances and even two small plays, all in Chinese, but the emotive presentation and the universality of music made most of the message clear and entertaining. And not only that but they also had some dance and kung fu demonstrations, plus a couple of games with prizes for the attendees. And before the main event started people were welcomed to learn some of the Chinese culture with workshops that taught how to make origami and Chinese calligraphy.

He shared these photos from the event, adding:

Oh, and Xīnnián kuàilè!

Meanwhile, at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Chris reports:

Every year the East Asian Languages Department at my university hosts a Lunar New Year Party with lots of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food.  Almost all of the professors dress in traditional clothes, and some of them even bring their kids along.  Students and faculty mingle and eat a good dinner, and there are a lot of both international and American students.

There aren’t any special performances or activities, so I suppose the event isn’t that traditional (I was told tonight that Japan doesn’t even celebrate the lunar new year?), but there are a lot of students at my university who are interested in East Asia, and I think the new year gives everyone a fun reason to come together and have a good time.  And of course at the end of the party, everyone receives a hongbao red envelope with a treat inside for good luck.

Some photos from the celebration:

East Asian language professors, students, and the wife of the university president pose for a photograph.

East Asian language professors, students, and the wife of the university president pose for a photograph.

George Washington University students line up for dumplings, noodles, tofu, and other delicious food.

George Washington University students line up for dumplings, noodles, tofu, and other delicious food.

Sarah, an undergraduate from Pittsburgh, and Yu-Chieh, a graduate student from Taiwan, are both majoring in Asian Studies.

Sarah, an undergraduate from Pittsburgh, and Yu-Chieh, a graduate student from Taiwan, are both majoring in Asian Studies.

Of course, it’s not just in the U.S. where the Chinese New Year is a big deal.  VOA has been collecting photos from celebrations around the world in our “Chinese New Year Where I Am” project.

We asked you to share photos and stories of your Lunar New Year traditions in our Flickr group, and we received pictures from nearly every continent on earth – everywhere from the heart of Beijing itself to Australia, Mauritius, London, New York, and even Las Vegas.  Sadly, no photos from Antarctica yet…if you know anyone in Antarctica, tell them to send pictures!

Click the image below to visit the Flickr map and explore how the holiday is celebrated all around the world.  And don’t be shy about joining the group to share your own photos and memories!

Chinese New Year is celebrated all over the world. VOA has been collecting pictures and stories on Flickr. Click to visit the Flickr map and explore global Lunar New Year traditions

4 Responses to “Rabbits Invade US Colleges for the Spring Festival”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by VOA News, VOA's Student Union. VOA's Student Union said: Rabbits Invade US Colleges for the Spring Festival – maybe a bit hyperbolic, but lots of pics from Lunar New Year! http://bit.ly/dNJ0Ns [...]

  2. Homayoon Taheryar says:

    Reading this article one can fully understand that US is the best place for all cultures, ethnics and tribes living around the world. We know that every country in the world doesn’t want their youths and students studying abroad to be influenced by host county’s culture and ideology. However, such celebration of Chinese new year is a good example of practicing a foreign culture by foreign students. I don’t think that such range for freedom of culture may be permitted in China for American students. That is why when a student wish to study in US, her/his countrymen have not to judge that he/she may be influenced by American culture and might lose him/her self.

  3. [...] [Read about how other schools celebrated the Lunar New Year] My friend Xue Li and her friend making dumplings [...]

  4. Jessica Stahl says:

    I found yet another great showcase of how a college celebrated the Lunar New Year! Check out photos from Oberlin College in Ohio http://blogs.oberlin.edu/community/events/lunar_new_year_1.shtml

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