Feb. 10 marked the first day of the Year of the Dragon.

The University held several events to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the first of which was the Lunar New Year Kickoff Festival which took place Friday, Feb. 9.

The event took place in the May Room, which was decorated for the occasion with the traditionally lucky colors red and gold. Soon, the lights dimmed, and the hosts for the evening, senior Xingyan (Katrina) Kang and junior Munhang (James) Min, welcomed the attendees and the new year to come.

Various cultural organizations tabled at the festival, displaying different Lunar New Year traditions present in their cultures. The Chinese Students’ Association and the Japanese Students’ Association both provided materials for passersby to inscribe their hopes for the new year in calligraphy. The Vietnamese Students Association and the Korean Student Union demonstrated traditional games from each of their cultures, eliciting smiles and laughter from delighted participants. The Asian American Alliance provided brain teasers, asking participants trivia questions about Lunar New Year such as, “What Zodiac animal is the next in line?”

In addition to the tables, the festival brought together several performance groups from across the University to showcase dance and music. The opening act was Phoenix Fire, a classical Chinese dance group. Their dances were graceful and fluid, evoking feelings of serenity. Energetic and confident dances came next when the K-pop group self-titled “Attention” performed said song by NewJeans took to the stage.”

These were followed by Rochester Bhangra, who captured the crowd’s attention with their vibrant attire and movement, followed closely by RICE Crew’s sassy and confident dances accompanied by K-pop songs. Grain in Ear, a dance organization from Simon Business School, performed two graceful dances that highlighted Chinese and Mongolian customs. The last of the dance groups to perform, the Vietnamese Students Association, performed a dance with traditional leaf-hats (called nón lá) as props. 

Following the dances, the International Music Ensemble performed three pop songs — one in Chinese, one in Korean, and one in Japanese. This concluded the event, paving the way for a bright Lunar New Year.

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