February 16 marked the start of another Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year also goes by other names, such as the Spring Festival in Chinese , Seollal in Korean, and Tet in Vietnamese. These variations clearly illustrate how wide-spread the celebration of the Lunar New Year has become. Therefore, for many people, it is a public holiday, especially for those who reside in Asian countries. However, when studying at American boarding schools, Asian students often times find themselves having to go to school on days that, back home, are typically considered a break.
As a result, some students and faculty set up their own celebrations but on a much smaller scale. They arrange plans to get together and celebrate on days off that occur near the first day of Lunar New Year.
The Lunar New Year is a very family-orientated occasion. It is a series of days set aside to honor and worship deities and ancestors and to prepare for a new year with family members. During the celebration, the color red symbolizes luck and good fortune in the New Year, and is often worn. Lucky money is placed in red envelopes and gifted to younger generations by elders as a sign of warm wishes and hopes for a bright future.
At The Hill, there is always an international dinner, open to everyone, on the first day of the Lunar New Year. This year, the New Year dinner was hosted by Wei-jei DeLucia, instructor of Chinese, Yoon Soo Lim, Oakland Tuttle director of vocal music, and the international prefects. Students can also elect to arrange their own celebrations together, though this is particularly difficult due to conflicting schedules.
Though the Lunar New Year is a time set aside to get together with close family, it is ironic that students who observe this holiday cannot celebrate with their loved ones. Even so, students here still manage to squeeze in a little time for celebration.