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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year on campus

Tuesday, Feb. 1 marked the first day of the Lunar New Year and the start of the Year of the Water Tiger. The 15-day festival is celebrated by many Asian communities around the world. 

The Year of the Water Tiger predicts a year of big changes and symbolizes a strong, brave and confident energy for the months ahead. Lantern festivals, time to honor ancestors, family, friends, households and plenty of good food characterize this two-week long time of celebration. UW-Madison community members are invited to celebrate the Lunar New Year at events hosted by UW student organizations from Feb. 5 to Feb. 12. 

“In Chinese culture the Lunar New Year is all about family and good luck,” a member of the Chinese American Student Association said in an interview with The Daily Cardinal. “During this time families will come together to enjoy a meal together, kind of like Thanksgiving here.”

The association is hosting a Lunar New Year Banquet on Feb. 12 at Union South in Varsity Hall I & II from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Food, performances and activities to celebrate the most important holiday in Chinese culture will take place. All are invited to get together with friends, family and community members at the CHASA event. 

The Vietnamese Student Association is hosting Tết , or the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, on Feb. 6. Tết is a time for people to come together as a community with family and loved ones, share meals of Banh Chung and Banh Tet, and hope for good luck and prosperity. It is also a time for reflection and making changes in preparation for the new year.

“The sense of unity pervades not only the individual households, but to the entire community. This makes us feel like we are one big family sharing the same values,” VSA President Lam Nguyen told the Cardinal.

The celebration will take place on Feb. 6 at Union South in Varsity Hall III from noon to 4 p.m. There will be showcases of traditional Vietnamese performances, including the Lion Dance, Non La Dance, skit on the Banh Chung origin and traditional Tết food. 

As Nguyen added, the Tết traditions are also a way for younger people to learn Vietnamese values and pass them on to future generations. 

“For example, on the first day of the new year, we would visit our paternal family. On the second we visit our maternal family, and on the third we visit our old teachers. This routine reminds us of the important ones in our lives and how we should show appreciation for them throughout the year,” Nguyen said. 

Other events include Setsubun, a new years celebration for the coming of spring hosted by the Japanese Student Association on Feb. 5 from 2-4 p.m. at 312 S Park St. The Malaysian Student Association is also celebrating the Lunar New Year with food at the Multicultural Student Center on Feb. 5 from noon to 4 p.m.

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