CSUMB celebrates the Lunar New Year, welcoming the year of the tiger

Lunar New Year began on Feb. 1 and California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) has been celebrating the holiday with a week full of activities and events. 

Unlike the westernized calendar, the lunar calendar is based on the different phases of the moon. The holiday typically begins in late January or early February. 

Every lunar year is associated with a different animal and 2022 marks the year of the tiger. 

CSUMB put on a few different events and giveaways to celebrate the Lunar New Year. To kick things off, the Otter Cross Culture Center (OC3) set up a table in the Otter Student Union (OSU), with some information on the holiday. 

At any point during the week, students could stop by the table and guess how many jellies were in a clear jar. The two students with the closest guess will receive a tiger stuffed animal. 

Located upstairs in the OSU, the OC3 featured red envelopes full of goodies and a lantern filled with reasons for gratitude. 

Wendy Feng OC3 coordinator and host of the event, has taken her opportunity with the OC3 to educate students on her culture. Many Americans have grown up calling this holiday “Chinese New Year,” however it’s important to note that Lunar New Year is celebrated in many different countries. 

Feng stressed the importance of being aware of other people’s cultures. “We don’t really talk about Lunar New Year but it’s a huge, 15-day celebration in other countries. Lunar New Year is all about family.”

She also spoke on the personal significance of watching students celebrate her culture. 

“When I was a freshman, there wasn’t an event, and I was pretty sad. It’s a big thing for your family to make food and eat together, and I wasn’t able to do that. I felt really lonely during that time.”

This inspired Feng to bring home-cooked meals for her friends during her sophomore year, and eventually host a virtual Lunar New Year celebration her junior year over Zoom.

“No one really knows about your culture unless you share it. Although I felt lonely, I was able to overcome it by doing something where I was able to share my own identity. You gotta do your own thing! Once I did, I started noticing we’re not that different. People are really happy when you feed them!”

Now, the Lunar New Year festivities at CSUMB extend outside of events held by Feng and the OC3. North Quad residential advisor Camille Mendoza held a small social event of her own. 

On Feb. 1, students met in the Vineyard Suites lobby, where Mendoza talked about the holiday and helped students figure out their Chinese zodiac. Students who attended also got a tiger door decoration. 

The Asian and Pacific Islander Association Club (API) also posted quizzes where students could test their knowledge of the holiday.

For more information on holidays like this, visit the OC3 for more information.

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