By Wei-Huan Chen
Feb. 11, 2011 WALTHAM, Mass. -- A global community gathered at the World Court of the Brandeis International Business School last week to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Students, faculty and friends rang in the Year of the Rabbit with colorful performances, authentic Chinese dishes, and student games. For many students, it was an opportunity to share their culture and tradition, and to celebrate the diversity of their school. For others, it was chance to learn.
One of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, the Lunar New Year—which took place on February 3—marks a time of festivities and new beginnings for people from Cambodia, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It is a time for giving gifts, wearing new clothes, dancing, and most important, having dinner with family. Families in Asia travel across the country to in order to participate in extravagant feasts with their relatives and bring wishes of health and prosperity.
According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, those born in the Year of the Rabbit are cautious, virtuous, and oftentimes fortunate with their money. To bring luck and happiness for everyone, students handed out the Chinese characters for rabbit and fortune, drawn with calligraphy brushes on red paper. Organizers used also red, a predominant color in New Year celebrations for its ties to joy and prosperity, to decorate the walls and tables at the event. Besides song and dance performances, the Chinese yo-yo made an appearance, as well as a traditional lion dance.
Participants enjoyed authentic Chinese food, including nian gao (Chinese New Year’s cake), fried eggplant, dou gan (a firm tofu dish), fried fish (the Chinese word for fish, yu, is a synonym for the word meaning surplus), Taiwanese-style bubble tea, fried noodles (the lengthiness of noodles symbolizes long-term healthiness and life) and Chinese pastries.
“This is a very meaningful time for families in China,” said Na Wang MA ’11, the organizer of the event and a Leadership Fellow for the Brandeis International Business School. “It is the only time many of us will get to see our family. I’m very grateful for the Dean and everyone else who attended in making this such a wonderful celebration.”