Harry Dang / Sun Staff Photographer

Dancers perform at Okenshields for the Lunar New Year.

February 6, 2019

Campus Events Help Cornellians Celebrate Lunar New Year Away from Home

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As the year of the pig approaches, several organizations and student centers will be hosting cultural events to celebrate and educate the Cornell community on one of the biggest Chinese holidays of the year.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Tatkon Center will be hosting activities celebrating Lunar New Year all day such as fortune reading and riddle solving. Andrea Maghacot ’22 visited the center after class and appreciated the display of decorations and activities.

“For introducing it to a small community, they did an excellent job,” Maghacot said. “It was simple, but it had enough complexity to teach us more about the culture.”

Dragon fires up a crowd at Okenshields.

Harry Dang / Sun Staff Photographer

A dragon fires up a crowd at Okenshields.

On Tuesday, Okenshields Dining Hall hosted their annual Chinese New Year dinner, featuring classic Chinese dishes such as vegetable dumplings, red bean balls and Kung Pao chicken.

The event was an unexpected surprise for freshman Jessica Jiang ’22, who is Chinese-American. Like many others, this dinner will be Jiang’s first Chinese New Year celebration away from her home in Long Island, so she looks forward to “being able to eat Chinese food during the New Year.”

“When I saw the event on Facebook, I definitely did not expect it,” she said. “Even if it’s not the most traditional food, I think it’s nice that they thought to celebrate the Lunar New Year.”

Law students will also be able to celebrate the holiday on Tuesday with a dinner hosted by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.

Jialin Yang, president of APALSA, emphasized the importance of celebrating away from home. “It’s easy to feel especially homesick around a holiday like this, and we want people to know that we’re here for them,” Yang said.

Tatkon Center celebrates Lunar New Year with traditional red envelopes.

Michelle Yang / Sun Staff Photographer

Tatkon Center celebrates Lunar New Year with traditional red envelopes.

The week will end with a celebration at the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room on Friday, hosted by the Chinese Students Association. The event will feature Chinese food from Collegetown’s Apollo restaurant, student performances from groups including LOKO, Absolute Zero and E.Motion and various cultural games.

According to Ada Zhu ’21, CSA cultural chair, the Lunar New Year celebration is one of their main cultural events of the year.

“Since Lunar New Year is such a prominent Chinese holiday, this event is a way to really showcase Chinese culture,” Zhu said.

All events this week except for dinner at Okenshields Dining Hall, which requires a meal swipe or other form of payment,  will be free and open to the Cornell public.