Traditional Chinese red and gold lanterns decorated the Global Village at Kennesaw State, while the sounds of popular cultural music flooded the room during a celebration of the Chinese Lunar New year on Thursday, Jan. 23.
The attendees enjoyed ginger tea, created cut-out crafts and learned about which Chinese zodiac animal corresponded to them. A slideshow of authentic Lunar New Year celebrations in China was shown to further enhance the atmosphere.
Students from several nationalities were present to celebrate the occasion.
Freshman modern language and culture major Marissa O’Brien said she knew beforehand that Lunar New Year involved gift-giving, parades and other exuberant celebrations, but now she recognizes the spirit of cultural involvement and tradition that underlines the festivities.
“It’s definitely more involved than our New Year celebrations,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien learned from the event that she was born in the year of the Dragon. People who are born under the Dragon sign are said to be natural, straightforward and have unpredictable emotions. The year 2020 is supposed to be a lucky year for the careers of dragons, according to the Chinese zodiac system.
Sophomore exercise science major Crawford Allen regarded this first experience participating in Chinese traditions to be a positive one. The slideshow of authentic celebrations illustrated a sense of unity that differentiated it from conventional American New Year celebrations. The length of the festivals and their extravagance left him wanting more.
“It leaves a longing to explore what the holiday is all about,” Allen said. “I’m left with a lot of questions that I want to have answered.”
Global Village Coordinator Shirmenia Nunes was a major contributor involved in putting the event together. Nunes said that the purpose of the event was to honor KSU students of all demographics as well as to show respect and appreciation for various cultures.
Nunes recalled her time spent studying abroad as one of her best experiences in college and wanted to bring some foreign tradition to KSU. Nunes sees Chinese New Year as the beginning of a new phase for everyone.
“There are so many…. aspects to it, such as rituals, music and food, and it just fascinates me how much history and cultural richness are behind this,” Nunes said.
Next year, Nunes wants to hold the event again next year with all of the resource centers involved. By then, she plans on adding Chinese cuisine and fortune cards to the celebration as well.