Two student groups will honor of the Lunar New Year on Friday — with some fun twists.
The Chinese American Student Union (CASU) and the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) will be hosting their annual Lunar New Year Banquet on Friday, Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Mandela Room in the University Union.
In hosting this event, CASU and VSA bring the tradition of the Lunar New Year, celebrated by Asian and Asian-American families, to the campus community.
“The Lunar New Year is similar to the American New Year on Jan. 1,” said Jason Lu, the vice president of CASU and a junior majoring in economics. “It’s a time where everyone’s supposed to gather around and feast with the family.”
The Lunar New Year officially took place on Friday Feb. 16, and though different Asian and Asian American communities celebrate the holiday differently, CASU and VSA are teaming up for this event. CASU and VSA scheduled the banquet for this week so that even those who chose to celebrate at home can participate.
“Throughout the Asian community [at BU] a lot of people go home, but there’s a lot of people who stay here because they don’t have a ride to get home or they don’t have time to go home,” said Christina Tran, cultural events coordinator of VSA and a sophomore majoring in English. “So we put it on as a celebration within the community, so we can come together.”
The Mandela Room will be decorated with red lanterns and tablecloths, keeping with the Chinese association of the color red with good luck, especially during the Lunar New Year.
The banquet will feature a catered meal including white rice, chicken and broccoli, lo mein, tofu stir-fry and General Tso’s chicken from Red Wok, a restaurant located on Binghamton’s West Side. There will also be photo booths, with backdrops decorated by CASU and VSA, where attendees can take pictures with their friends in their formal attire.
Performances will include breakdancing by BU Breakers, a showcase of the Chinese yo-yo, spoken-word poetry and traditional lion dancing. There will also be interactive games for attendees and, of course, red envelopes — although they will be filled with candy instead of money.
“I think it’s a good balance between modern and traditional,” Lu said.
Darren Yu, a senior majoring in business administration, will be performing solo beatboxing on Friday. Yu explained that, for him, the Lunar New Year Banquet represents a bridge.
“A lot of first generation/minority students commit significantly to their family’s culture, only to find that it does nothing to connect them to their local or school community,” Yu wrote in an email. “Events like Lunar New Year Banquet and student organizations like CASU/VSA validate my past in a sense. I’ve found ways to connect with other students that have nothing to do with ethnicity, but seeing the prevalence of Asian representation through student organizations has helped me reconcile with my ethnic circumstances.”
Tickets for the banquet will be on sale on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Marketplace. Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door if they do not sell out in advance.