Despite Friday’s snowstorm, more than 100 students showed up to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year as part of an annual commemoration hosted by the Asian Student Union, Chinese Asian Student Association Union (CASU), and the Hong Kong Exchange Square (HKES).
Red Chinese lanterns, vivid crimson banners and colorful decorations lined the walls and ceiling as students filled Old Union Hall.
“Within American society and Western culture we are usually taught to celebrate New Years on Jan. 1,” said Jeff Huang, president of ASU and a senior double-majoring in economics and psychology. “In Binghamton, however, we have a large Asian student body and have a lot of involvement, so we wanted to show how other cultures celebrate the New Year.”
Sandy Huang, events coordinator for HKES and a sophomore majoring in biology, said that the Lunar New Year celebration at Binghamton University is meant to mimic the inclusive feel of family celebrations.
“For Asian families this is the time where family gets together,” Sandy Huang said. “Many families in China are able to meet since normally people work in different places. People can just get together and have fun. In China, they have a big show and we are trying to imitate that.”
The celebration consisted of a buffet-style Chinese dinner featuring foods like dumplings, fried rice and Chicken Katsu, followed by performances from the Taekwondo Club, the Glee Club and Sulpoong, a traditional Korean percussion group.
Sean Ryan, a freshman majoring in economics, was excited to come to a BU celebration of the holiday for the first time and experience the Lunar Year.
“I thought the event was great. All the performers were great,” Ryan said. “I had heard of the Chinese New Year, but never experienced it before. I will definitely be back next year.”
ASU President Jeff Huang said the performances were both informative and fun to watch.
“I thought the performances were the result of much hard work. It is both motivational and educational,” Jeff Huang said. “All the performances showed a side of culture, taught us some history, and definitely entertained us.”
During intermission, an audience member called out “Phewtick,” sparking a movement around the room for students to connect with one another using Phewtick, an app that lets users earn money by sharing barcodes on their smartphones.
“The intermission was awesome. Its always nice to celebrate the holidays and make some spending money at the same time,” Ryan said. “Plus, it was a great way to meet people and make some new connections in the room that would have never have happened without the app.”
This year’s attendance marked a notable increase from last year. Sandy Huang said she was pleased with the turnout.
“It went a lot better than I expected,” Huang said. “This is the second time we are running it so we do not have that much experience, but I thought the turnout was really good and that a lot more people came then we expected. It was very fun and entertaining and thanks to everyone who came out for support.”