posted on: Thursday February 6, 2020
by Brenna O’Leary ’20 A&E Staff
It is time. Time to start saving, planning, and most importantly, time to start smiling: it is the Year of the Rat! Last Thursday, January 30, at 6 p.m. the Asian American Association (Asian Am) in collaboration with Board of Programmers (BOP) brought Providence College an explosive Lunar New Year Celebration. Planning began in December when BOP’s Fiona Hoang ’22 reached out to Asian Am, and they co-sponsored the event in the Center at Moore Hall. The event was colorful, loud, energetic, and completely fun, lasting for two hours, providing everything from a delicious dinner catered by Apsara, to entertainment. The venue was crowded with PC students excited both to celebrate and plant positivity in the new year.
The Lunar New Year spans many different cultures and traditions, and Hieu Nguyen ’20, president of Asian Am, said, “We knew that we could not include everything so we tried our best to pick the activities that are most representative of Lunar New Year.” The celebration has been held here at PC for many years, but according to Nguyen, this was the first year Asian Am and BOP collaborated to put on the event, leading to the most successful turnout yet.
The Lunar New Year celebration lasts 15 days, and is an extremely old celebration with beautiful traditions. There were trinkets to choose from, many wrapped in a red pocket. These pockets have a few different names; traditionally they contain money, but here at PC, students were awarded a random mix of prizes. There were postcards, Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards, and more to choose from. The room was decorated with red streamers, paper lanterns, poetry banners, and balloons. There were also arts and crafts galore. Tables had paintable lanterns and materials for making origami rats.
However, the highlight of the event was hands down the lion dance. The Rhode Island Kung Fu Club consists of talented musicians and dancers, and brought one of the most important Lunar New Year traditions to life. The lion dance, in which two dancers work the head and tail of the animal, was accompanied by loud noises, fruits, and vegetables to dispel negativity, and thereby bring positivity to the community.
The more vibrant the colors, flashier the sparkles and shiny objects, and the more noise, means more positivity for the New Year. The dancers were fantastic, magically devouring vegetables and spitting their remnants—and with them good luck—back onto the crowd, dancing in bold patterns, and even demonstrating some impressive lifting moves.
Each table was stuffed to maximum capacity with participants. Nguyen was extremely happy, saying, “Asian Am wanted to share a big part of the Asian culture with people at Providence College and we were able to achieve that!”
In total, there are 12 different zodiac years within the Lunar cycle. This means that this year, the Year of the Rat, marks the completion of 12 years from the last Year of the Rat in 2008. The zodiac itself suggests economic prosperity, and many born in the Year of the Rat are considered prudent, logical with money, and also deeply loving. As college students, I think we can all appreciate what the Year of the Rat stands for.