International Center celebrates Lunar New Year and rings in new Year of the Tiger

California Baptist University held an event on Feb. 3 celebrating the Lunar New Year and welcoming the Year of the Tiger. The International Center, which provides services and support for the almost three hundred international students on campus, orchestrated the event in partnership with CBU’s Community Life and ASCBU.

This event featured paper lantern making, folding red envelopes and food from a local Chinese restaurant, along with a photo booth with Year of the Tiger props and some performances from international students. Traditional dances, such as a lion and a dragon dance, were also performed by a local organization.

Courtney Watson, director of International Student Services, said that international students who are unable to return home for the celebration enjoy the Lunar New Year event.

“(The event gives them) an absolute taste of home, and they were all stoked that (CBU) is doing an event that is representative of their home,” Watson said. “Many of the students are also excited to show off their culture and to see their American friends participating in something that they hold so close.”

Yanjun Chen, a second-year vocal performance graduate student, said that Lunar New Year is important to the Chinese culture.

“Chinese New Year is used to celebrate the Spring Festival,” Chen said. “It is an activity that the ancients of China used to sacrifice, thank the gods of heaven and earth, (thank) ancestors’ kindness and pray for blessings.”

The International Center usually plans a Lunar New Year event each year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled in 2021. Chen, who attended Lunar New Year events at CBU in the past, enjoys the cultural activities that take place during the events.

“In my first semester in CBU, I remember that the international center organized a Lunar New Year celebration,” Chen said. “At that celebration, I saw the talent show of the international students, ate the spring rolls and other snacks and also saw activities such as calligraphy. For me, this is a very heart-warming event.”

Tanyun Yang, freshman marketing major, explained that the Lunar New Year involves many traditions.

“(Some traditions include) making red banners to go on the doors, cleaning out the whole house like spring cleaning to get rid of the old and usher in the new and my personal favorite, in which the adults would typically give children a red envelope to signify good luck,” Yang said. “These red envelopes would contain money to symbolize prosperity in the new year.”

The tiger, the zodiac of this year, symbolizes not only fearlessness and momentum but also opens possibilities to foster opportunity and financial and entrepreneurial success, something that everyone could use going into the new year. Here’s to new beginnings, opportunities and the Year of the Tiger.

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