UIW Community Celebrates Asian New Year

January 26, 2023

Group picture during Asian New Year celebration

Billions of people around the world celebrate Lunar New Year, a holiday that was originally utilized as a time to honor families and host religious ceremonies. A 15-day celebration among Asian communities around the world, the holiday is named for the Chinese lunisolar calendar and marks the end of winter. Today, it has blossomed into various cultural traditions. Also referred to as Chinese or Asian New Year, the holiday is a special time for gathering with family and friends to feast and celebrate festivities in China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam and even the U.S. and Canada, as well as many other countries all over the world.

The dates vary slightly each year and begin between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, according to Western Calendars. This year, the holiday fell on Jan. 22. In many parts of East Asia, this year marks the Year of the Rabbit, one of the 12 zodiac animals in the lunar calendar; in Vietnam, it is celebrated as the Year of the Cat. UIW has a long history of celebrating Asian New Year, and this year was no different as it hosted a variety of events from Jan. 23-27.

"It is important to celebrate Asian New Year at UIW because it brings a special cultural awareness,” shared Elayna Gonzales, immigration advisor in the International Student and Scholar Services Office. “It makes our UIW Asian community feel welcome and acknowledged, and by doing so, we are bringing all of the UIW community together to celebrate the most important social and economic holiday for billions of people worldwide.”

Throughout the week, the UIW community had the opportunity to see a beautiful display of Asian New Year celebratory lanterns inside the campus dining hall. The colors of the lanterns, scarlet and red, symbolize wealth and good fortune. The cafeteria also showcased a delicious Asian New Year “Featured Global Eats Menu” that included sushi, Pho and potstickers.

Asian New Year themed booths dotted West Gate Circle on Monday and Tuesday, giving students, faculty and staff the opportunity to experience Asian food, recipes, East Asian tea tasting, and an all-natural cleaning booth, featuring products and tips to help in the traditional Chinese New Year cleaning, a practice that symbolizes the "sweeping away” of the old year to make room for the new. The festival even included a live rabbit that students could pet to ring in the Year of the Rabbit. A fashion show featuring traditional dress from various Asian countries also allowed attendees to learn more about South, East and Central Asian cultures.

Thursday, Campus Engagement offered free Pancit and Lumpias for a delicious treat in the SEC Concourse. Students were also treated to an Asian Market tour, traveling to the Garden Tea Lounge, Seoul Market and Tokyo Mart. To close out the week, members of the UIW community visited the Japanese Tea Garden for a self-guided walking tour. Located a few minutes from campus, the fresh air and beautiful flowers were a treat for all in attendance.

Two students posing in front of red lanterns