Students from W&L, VMI ring in the East Asian Lunar New Year

The annual East Asian Lunar New Year celebration celebrates Asian language, culture and food

Xiaoxia Yin

The Department of East Asian Languages and Literature (EALL) and the Pan-Asian Association for Cultural Exchange (PAACE) hosted the East Asian Lunar New Year celebration last Thursday in Commons.

The event was also sponsored by the Student Association for International Learning and VMI Modern Languages and Cultures. This is the first time W&L has had the Lunar New Year event with VMI.

Lunar New Year, also called Spring Festival, is an important festival for East Asian countries—especially in China, where people treat it as significant as Western world treats Christmas. According to the East Asian lunar calendar, this year is the “Year of the Rooster.”

Students from East Asian countries, learning East Asian languages or just interested in East Asian culture performed songs, dances and cultural presentations. Food from Canton Chinese Restaurant, Sushi Matsumoto and Napa Thai was served in addition to refreshments.

The Chinese and Japanese calligraphy created by EALL students was decorated as tool of cultural demonstration.

Department Head of EALL Janet Ikeda said the Lunar New Year event is important for the department and for promoting the diversity of the student body.

“I feel the Lunar New Year celebration is a wonderful way to bring the campus together for an Asian event,” Ikeda said. “This multicultural event highlights the diversity in the curriculum and among the student body and faculty here.”

President of PAACE Nuoya Zhou said the organization co-hosts this event with EALL every year.

“Lunar New year is probably our biggest event, and we really put a lot of effort into it,” Zhou said. “According to the feedback we got from past a few years, we made sure there are enough food for everyone coming. This year, we ordered from three different restaurants in the Rockbridge county to make sure the authenticity of the Asian food we offer.”

Olivia Shen, ‘20, said she enjoyed the celebration and that she got “the feeling of home.”

“As a Chinese student, this is my first time spending the Spring Festival abroad,” Shen said.

“But [the celebration] was great that I feel just like I were at home. Thanks to PAACE and all the performers prepared for the celebration, it made for a wonderful night.”