Multicultural Center celebrates Lunar New Year with food & crafts

Multicultural Center celebrates Lunar New Year with food & crafts

Wearing a traditional red áo dài dress, student Kate Tran attended the Lunar New Year Celebration in the Multicultural Center on Thursday hoping to share her Vietnamese culture and form connections with other students. 

“It’s really special, because I can celebrate and it reminds me of my country,” said Tran, a business administration major who started at Pierce this semester. 

Tran and approximately 40 other students and faculty came together for the event, which featured activities such as games and Lunar New Year crafts.   

The event was held on Feb. 8 and Lunar New Year was on Saturday, Feb. 10 this year, marking the start to the Year of the Dragon. Celebrated annually by several East and Southeast Asian cultures and countries including China, Thailand and Korea, the centuries-old holiday marks the start of a new year based on the lunar calendar. Each Lunar New Year is symbolically classified by a sign, such as the rat, the ox or in this case, the dragon.

According to Multicultural Center Coordinator Tatevik Melkumyan, this is the first year Pierce has held a Lunar New Year celebration, partially because the center—first opening in February 2023—is new to campus. 

“We hosted it to bring students together,” Melkumyan said. “We do lots of multicultural programming and it creates that community.”

Students and faculty who attended the event were given red envelopes, one of the core components of Lunar New Year and an important part of the celebration, according to Melkumyan. Symbolizing good luck and prosperity, these envelopes contained raffle tickets, which were used to win prizes including T-shirts and tote bags.

Students sat together and ate a variety of Asian dishes that were offered, including Thai vegetarian fried rice, egg rolls and Japanese-style teriyaki chicken. 

“I read about [the celebration] on the Pierce website and it seemed pretty interesting, hearing about the traditions,” said Rossie Cuenca, a political science major. “I like all kinds of food and this is really good.”

For psychology major Andrea Aguilan, the event offered an opportunity to eat lunch with friends, while also taking the time to learn about several Asian cultures.

“I was really hungry this morning and someone told me the event was happening,” Aguilan said. “It’s really fun and I’ve actually never been [to the Multicultural Center] before, so it’s new to me.”

Melkumyan said she was happy with the turnout at the event and she plans to host more Lunar New Year celebrations in the coming years.

“We’ll continue doing [the event] moving forward,” Melkumyan said. “We’re hoping to make it bigger and better each year.”

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