PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — There’s no wrong way to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Collaborating with sister organizations at the Rhode Island School of Design and Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Brown’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association hosted a Lunar New Year gala at Brown’s Salomon Center for Teaching, putting on a spectacular cultural event to mark the holiday, which falls this year on Saturday, Feb. 10.
The three student organizations united 400 college students from across the city, many of whom are international students, to ring in the Year of the Dragon days before Lunar New Year with a night of dance, music, comedy and drama, with roots in both traditional and modern performance.
The gala is a nod to the annual televised gala and variety show traditionally broadcast across China. Watching the telecast on Lunar New Year’s Eve is a ritual for many Chinese families, especially those living overseas, said Autumn Qiu, a junior who serves as president of Brown’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association.
The event lent the stage to a wide variety of performances, from K-Pop dance routines and Chinese instrumental numbers to a kung fu demonstration and xiangsheng, a traditional comedic performing art. All the while, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a lottery to receive red envelopes filled with small amounts of money — one of the most universal symbols of the Lunar New Year, representing good wishes and luck for the months ahead.
“Spending this new year time abroad isn’t necessarily ideal for us, so we want to create a sense of retreat and home for people,” Qiu said. “It serves our mission to bring everybody who celebrates Lunar New Year together to enjoy a good time.”
One element was intentionally left out: a feast. That’s because the extended celebration continues this week as Brown’s Chinese Student Association prepares to host its annual Lunar New Year banquet on Friday, Feb. 9, or new year’s eve.
Between the gala, the banquet and other recognitions — such as a Lunar New Year-inspired menu at University dining halls and a dumpling-making event for students living in Brown’s Keeney Quad — Qiu said she’s heartened to see broader representation of the holiday and those who celebrate it on campus.
“It’s a constant reminder of why we do this,” she said. “I’m just so happy to see now that people are more aware of Lunar New Year and incorporating this celebration into the diverse culture here at Brown.”