Asian American Coalition celebrates Lunar New Year

If you wandered through the Balfour-Hood Center on Feb. 15 at 7 may have been hit by lettuce streaming from the mouth of a dragon. It is apparent that Wheaton’s Asian American Coalition (AAC) pulled out all the stops to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year is a more encompassing name for what is more colloquially referred to as “Chinese New Year” — a misnomer, as the same event is celebrated at the same time by other Asian cultures in Vietnam, Korea and Japan, among others.

The Lunar New Year is considered to be the biggest event of the year for Asian cultures, and is celebrated based on the lunar calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar used to mark our January 1 New Year.

The AAC set up tables in the atrium with various activities, ranging from Origami making, to Lantern making to Chinese writing to karaoke. At around 6:30 p.m., AAC put out an assortment of Chinese food. Choices ranged from: vegetable lo mein, General Gao’s chicken, orange chicken, beef with broccoli, vegetable delights and chicken wings. There was also a selection of Cambodian food including fried shrimp rolls and banana rice.

Though the event was free, it incorporated a fundraising aspect, as well. There was a donation box for the club and the AAC sold Cambodian banana rice as part of a fundraiser in which the proceeds go towards buying math textbooks for school children in Cambodia.

The Lunar New Year celebration also incorporated a performance of the Lion Dance. In Chinese tradition, the lion represents fortune and happiness, so the dance was performed to help bring luck and happiness to those in the audience. The Lion Dance is also meant to eliminate negative energy and replace it with positive.

The AAC has been improving their Lunar New Year celebration each year by adding more decoration, reserving more space and producing more advertisements to bring people to the event. They have several other events on the docket for this semester.

“It was the first time I’d ever seen a Lion Dance and the first time I’d ever been to an Asian New Year event,” said Shelby Forbes ’16. “I had a lot of fun and . . . am looking forward to the other events scheduled for this year.”