SPU rings in Lunar New Year with Asian festivities

SPU rang in its version of the Asian holiday the Lunar New Year with games, bright decorations and upbeat music last Friday evening in Weter Hall. According to one of the coordinators, Annalise Nordtvedt, Lunar New Year is celebrated in Asia with "big feasts, dragon dances and lots of fireworks. It is a very loud and joyful celebration."

Nordtvedt said this holiday was brought to SPU so that "the students and faculty might get a little taste and appreciation of what this special holiday is like for so many people around the world."

SPU’s Lunar New Year, sponsored by MOSAIC, "Bridges" and the Emerson Hall Diversity Floors, featured a variety of exotic fare and festivities.

The spread of exotic cuisine spiced up the night for many attendees. Junior Shahmin Mahmood described the food as "delicious."

"We tried raw fish for the first time," added senior Heidi Angel. "It was weird but good."

A variety of Asian teas was also available.

"I just got here," said history professor Ron Stiling, "but I’ve already had Chinese tea and Japanese tea, both of which were good."

Activities of the evening included a calligraphy/name-writing booth (names were written in Chinese and Japanese by a Chinese student and a Japanese student), origami, traditional Chinese games and toys. Games included Chinese Chess, Chinese Go and the Chinese Yo Yo, which, according to Nordtvedt, was "a big hit." Also featured was a picture booth where people could be photographed in traditional Asian clothing and a Lunar New Year trivia game. Volunteers from the MOSIAC cadre, the MuKappa cadre for missionary kids and Emerson Hall’s Diversity Floors manned each booth. Many people also helped set up and decorate for the event, Nordtvedt said.

Two nursing students, juniors Alanna Chan and Leanne Chang, stopped by to check out the festivities. "We just saw the sign," said Chan, "and decided to stop in. It’s really neat and a great turnout."

Chang, a transfer student, compared SPU’s cultural events to those at her last school.

"I transferred from a large university, so there were student unions that would put on events," she said. "But there it was like a Vietnamese student union would put on a Vietnamese dance that Vietnamese people would go to. Here it’s more integrated, more people willing to come and check out other cultures. … It makes it more interesting."

Fellow coordinator D.J. Inoue said the purpose of the function was to acknowledge and cater to the Asian community at SPU.

Inoue said he was impressed with the turnout and excited for what the night had to offer. He said it was different from last year’s celebration in that "the format was different. There’s more of a variety of activities."

Although the coordinators strived for authenticity in their Lunar re-creation, what took place in one night at SPU is a much more extended celebration in Asia. There, Nordtvedt said, "Lunar New Year is celebrated over a 15-day period. Students get up to a month off of school. Most people travel to their hometown to celebrate with their family. Red envelopes are given to children as gifts, and everyone buys new clothing for the New Year."

Nordtvedt said the event turned out a lot better than she expected.

"There were so many things to think about in planning this event that I was afraid that we would forget about some things. But I felt like it turned out pretty good," she said.

A kimono-clad Denise Martinez, ASSP intercultural director celebrated the event with her festive garb. "This is a fun, unique opportunity to celebrate other people," she said.

Nordtvedt said one of the highlights of the night was an "amazing" Taekwando performance in which SPU alumnus Jason Purcell and junior Brandon Talley broke boards in half with their bare hands and punched out candles with just the air from their punches.

Nordtvedt said she wants to see Lunar New Year celebrated in the future. "We definitely want to see Lunar New Year become an annual tradition at SPU. Hopefully in the future it will be bigger and more elaborate."

Junior Kyle Evans summed it up by saying that "(Lunar New Year) was brief, it was decorative and people were having a good time."

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Title: SPU rings in Lunar New Year with Asian festivities | Author: Jade Nirvana Ingmire | Section: News | Published Date: 2003-01-29 | Internal ID: 3092