Dennis Ng / The Dartmouth Staff
Dartmouth Asian Organization hosted an event at Brace Commons on Thursday that attracted around 100 students, administrators and community members. The gathering was co-hosted by the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, the Pan-Asian Council, the Dartmouth Asian-Pacific American Alumni Association and the Dartmouth Chinese Cultural Society.
Although Dartmouth Asian Organization has been the sole host of its Lunar New Year celebrations in previous years, the group decided to expand the event to spread awareness about the holiday and relieve some of the stress from planning such a large event, president Devin Chu '14 said.
"Our resources are stretched pretty thin, so it was nice to have some help," he said. "But most importantly, we wanted to open up to the community and establish a connection with alumni, OPAL and other student groups."
Families from the Upper Valley with adopted Asian children were invited to attend the event, Dartmouth Chinese Culture Society president Kameko Winborn '14 said.
Dartmouth Asian Organization's Lunar New Year celebration incorporated many traditions, including cultural foods, a performance by the Chinese Dance Troupe and "hong bao" gifts to children from the community.
Elders traditionally give "hong bao," or red envelopes stuffed with money to children for good luck. Instead of money, Dartmouth's celebration included chocolate coins for children participants.
Other Chinese traditions include eating dumplings and fish, giving gifts and setting off firecrackers to ward off bad luck.
"The most important part of the Lunar New Year is about coming together as a family, kind of like Christmas but for Asian countries," Winborn said. "It was great to see Dartmouth and the outside community get together like a family."
Chu said he was excited to see College administrators attend the event this year, in addition to student groups and community members.
"I'm happy about the direction we're moving in by working with different offices and student groups," he said. "We're definitely taking a step toward a larger campus awareness overall."
Students at the Chinese Language House also commemorated the holiday on Sunday by watching the Chinese Central Television channel's New Year special and eating traditional Chinese New Year foods like tangerines and "yuanxiao," which are sticky rice balls in soup, according to Chinese Language House resident Betty Huang '14.
The Vietnamese Student Association hosted a gathering of undergraduate and graduate students on Saturday at the Sachem Community Center in Lebanon, N.H. to celebrate the new year with traditional Vietnamese food and games, president Ben Nguyen '14 said.
Students at the event enjoyed rice noodles, spring rolls and a traditional Vietnamese treat called "bang chung," or steamed rice cakes with pork and mung beans wrapped in banana leaves. Some students played a gambling board game called "bau cua ca cop," which translates to "squash-crab-fish-tiger," and several lucky participants received "li xi," the Vietnamese version of red envelopes.
The Korean Student Association also hosted an event on Friday with Korean undergraduate and graduate students, according to president Jae Hoon Koo '11. The gathering featured Korean traditions such as "dduk-guk," a rice cake soup, and "yut-nori," a team board game, he said.
"At Dartmouth, undergrads and grad students usually aren't very close," Koo said. "The Lunar New Year celebration is a catalyst that helps us bond while commemorating traditions."
This is the second year that the Korean Student Association has organized a gathering for the Lunar New Year, Koo said. Although few non-Koreans attended the event, Lunar New Year celebrations are open to the entire student body.
Efforts to unite the College's Asian organizations and expand outreach to non-Asian students have increased over the years, according to Winborn. However, since the Lunar New Year coincided with Dartmouth's Winter Carnival this year, fewer people were aware of the holiday celebrations.
"The Lunar New Year is really central to the Asian community," Winborn said. "Bringing greater awareness to Dartmouth is a fun way to get people exposed to Asian culture in a celebratory way."