On the night of Feb. 19, students walking past Willard Straight Hall could hear the melodic tune of traditional Chinese music by artists such as Michael Wong. Although the Lunar New Year celebration was pushed back from Feb. 4, students in the Chinese Student Association celebrated once the virtual hiatus passed.
“The event being pushed back, that was just kind of inevitable based on the fact we were online for the first two weeks of school,” said Ava Tan ’23, president of the Chinese Student Association.
Though members of the Chinese Student Association could not attend an organized event on Lunar New Year, many celebrated with friends instead.
“Personally, for Lunar New Year, I just had a big dinner with my friends, and we just cooked a lot and ate a lot,” Tan said.
On the night of Lunar New Year, many Chinese Student Association lineages celebrated with big meals instead of the traditional festival that otherwise occurs during the celebration. The club’s lineage system builds community among its members and helps them arrange get-togethers.
“My bigs actually hosted all of the littles to go to their apartment, and we all made dumplings together,” said Kelly Zhang ’25.
When students finally gathered in Willard Straight Hall for the Lunar New Year event, they played traditional games, congregated around the photo booth and hung their wishes on the Wishing Tree — a tree draped with red ribbons — which sparkled in one corner of the room. During the Lunar New Year, hanging a wish on a tree is seen as a symbol of good luck.
One booth sported a pile of traditional snacks often enjoyed in China, such as peach gummy candy and original pretzel stick Pretz, while others dispensed red envelopes and tickets. Red envelopes were given to the first 88 Chinese Student Association members who attended the event, since the number 88 symbolizes fortune and good luck in Chinese culture. Students could win tickets by playing games, which they could then use to purchase snacks.
Games featured at the event included Jianzi, Mahjong and Chinese checkers. Jianzi, otherwise known as “feather-ball,” is a traditional game in which players use their feet to keep a feathered weight off the ground. Near the entryway, students gathered together to play in a circle most of the night, while other participants tried their hand at Jianzi in pairs.
Maxwell Pang ’25, a general body member, helped set up the event. Pang said that turnout was higher than anticipated, estimating that 100 people turned up for the festivities.
“Especially at the start, we had quite a crowd gathering outside,” Pang said.
Zhang partly attributed the bustling atmosphere of the event to its location.
“It’s indoors. I know one of our class events was outside, and it was really cold outside, and a lot of people didn’t want to come,” Zhang said. “This time, I feel like the music, the games and the snacks being here are all really great.”