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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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How Tulanians celebrated Lunar New Year 2024

Amid the lively Mardi Gras celebrations — the most wonderful time of the year for many students — some Tulanians prepared for another significant festival: the Lunar New Year.

WHAT IS THE LUNAR NEW YEAR?

Celebrated by over a billion people, the Lunar New Year has different names across Asia. It is known as the Spring Festival in China, and in Vietnam as the Tet Festival. Everywhere, it’s about welcoming spring and starting fresh. 

Families reunite over huge feasts and kids are given lucky red envelopes filled with money. Parades light up with dancing dragons and lions, fireworks explode like crazy and everyone wears new clothes, hoping for a fantastic year ahead. 

TUVA TET FEST

Over a hundred Tulane University students gathered on Friday in the pocket park of the Lavin-Bernick Center to eat Vietnamese food, listen to Vietnamese music and watch the Tulane University Vietnamese Association perform a fan dance.

Rolls, bánh mì sandwiches, dumplings and cơm chiên — Vietnamese fried rice — were served. The group also offered boba tea, Vietnamese strong coffee, Thai tea and a variety of breads and candies for dessert.

Photo by the Tulane University Vietnamese Association

“TUVA Tet Fest has taught me a lot about Vietnamese culture: how they celebrate Lunar New Year, why they have some specialized food and why it is so important to celebrate this festival,” said Mikayla Fairchild, an Oklahoma native. “The free food and fan dance were my favorite parts.”

“The food, honestly, is excellent,” said Loc Huynh, an international graduate student from Vietnam.

“It was a good representation of Vietnamese culture at Tulane. I love the fan dancing part so much that I have applied to be a part, and it is so fun” Peter Pham, a Vietnamese American student from Texas, said. “I feel great that I could contribute to the vibrant diversity at Tulane.” 

By providing the Tulane community a glimpse of Vietnamese culture, TUVA promoted cross-cultural understanding. American students mingled with Vietnamese international students over plates of food. One international student remarked, “I feel less homesick sharing this bit of Vietnam.”

Photo by the Tulane University Vietnamese Association

TCSSA LUNAR NEW YEAR GALA NIGHT 2024
Not only the Vietnamese but also the Chinese cultural club at Tulane — Tulane Chinese Students and Scholars Association — celebrated the Lunar New Year in their own unique way. TCSSA organized the Lunar New Year Gala, a vibrant celebration of Chinese and Asian cultures on Tulane’s campus. The event featured a variety of traditional customs, including music and dance performances, games and, of course, food.

Celebrated one week earlier in McAlister Auditorium, the gala drew the attention of Asian and non-Asian students and professors on campus. The free traditional food and boba signified a full embrace of China’s culinary culture.

Photo by the Tulane University Chinese Students and Scholars Association

“Lunar New Year is a special time of the year for people to reunite with their loved ones, celebrate the goods of the past year and wish for the best luck for the coming year,” Johnson Chi, president of TCSSA, said. “The significance of the Lunar New Year is monumental in Chinese culture, for it’s been long-ingrained into our roots. By giving out red envelopes, visiting relatives and returning to their hometowns, Chinese people can relieve the stress incurred during the year and get a fresh start to the new year.”

The auditorium was decorated with red lantern banners and other Lunar New Year decorations to ring in the year of the Dragon. Before the show, attendees enjoyed various traditional Chinese snacks and appetizers, including dumplings, spring rolls and a type of cake called nian gao. A boba tea station with milk tea and fruit flavors was also popular.

“I believe that our Gala succeeded in achieving this goal because many non-Chinese audiences found the traditional Chinese performances and their culture fascinating,” Chi said.

Photo by the Tulane University Chinese Students and Scholars Association

CENTER FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION

While TCSSA and TUVA specifically represented Chinese and Vietnamese traditions, the Global Cafe event provided a pan-Asian perspective.

Photo by the Tulane University Center of Global Education

On Feb. 6, TCSSA and TUVA were invited to a table at the Global Cafe to inform Tulanians about the traditions of China and Vietnam when celebrating the Lunar New Year. Although both celebrate the same festival, the two countries still have unique aspects.

The Lunar New Year customs shared on campus remind us that culture connects people across borders. As students immersed themselves in Asian traditions, they gained insight into new perspectives. The community celebrated how our diversity makes us stronger when we take the time to learn from one another. 

Photo by the Tulane University Center of Global Education

Happy Lunar New Year! Here is a great traditional, though creative, wish:

Chúc năm mới đau đầu vì nhà giàu. Mệt mỏi vì học giỏi. Buồn phiền vì nhiều tiền. Ngang trái vì xinh gái. Mệt mỏi vì đẹp trai. Và mất ngủ vì không có đối thủ.

May the new year give you headaches from being rich. May you be tired from studying well. May you be troubled by having too much money. May you be heartbroken for being too beautiful. May you be exhausted from being too handsome. And may you lose sleep from having no competitors.

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