Lunar New Year generates two cultural celebrations

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(Photo/Zenith Shrestha)

Luong Hoang Tran (top left), Son Tran (top middle), and Thanh Ngyuen (top right) perform a traditional Vietnamese song. Ngan Nguyen (bottom) presents a dance during the Vietnamese New Year celebration.

Sarah Mountain

Arts and Living Editor

The Troy University Chinese and Vietnamese Student associations celebrated the Lunar New Year with a two-day-long festival on Jan. 23 and 24.

The first day marked the celebration of the Chinese New Year, followed by the Vietnamese New year the next day. Both nights included dinner buffets of traditional food, performances by members of the organizations and a raffle drawing for prizes. 

“I like everything about it [the Lunar New Year] because it’s the one time of year when everyone, no matter how busy, gathers and celebrates with their loves ones,” said Nam Dang, a junior computer science major from Sai Gon, Vietnam. “We cherish this moment with traditional performances, dances and songs.”

While each party was only celebrated for one night here, traditionally, the Lunar New Year is celebrated for many days or even weeks according to the Vietnamese Student Association.

“The Vietnamese New Year, or Tet, is celebrated on the same date as the Chinese New Year,” said Tram Anh Nguyen, a junior accounting major from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. “There are some differences between the two holidays, but the core value of the new year is to spend time with family.”

Xuening Sun, a junior psychology major from Zhengzhou, China, agreed that family is the most important part of the Chinese holiday, as well. “Without the families around, the atmosphere isn’t the same and the celebration doesn’t feel whole,” Sun said.

Nguyen also said that since so many international students can’t be with their families during this time, being around friends and tradition is important to them. 

While there are differences between the two celebrations, they have some very similar qualities. Both require an abundance of traditional food, traditional clothing in reds and yellows, and songs of well wishes and good luck. 

“The New Year to us holds similar importance to Christmas for Americans,” Nguyen said. “It is arguably one of the most important days of the year.”

“It’s important because it is a symbol of the start of a brand-new year,” Sun said. “The end of the last year might be rough, so we celebrate everything starting fresh.”

“After a hard, working year, it’s time for you to stop, take a deep breath and be grateful for your wonderful friends and relatives,” Dang said. “They’ll always be with you when you need them.”

The Chinese and Vietnamese Student associations extend an invitation to all domestic students to come to future events and share in the culture and tradition of their countries. Inviting domestic students to celebrate foreign cultures and exposing them to the best parts of their traditions is something they say they truly enjoy. 

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