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Lunar New Year celebration on campus organized by AASA. Epic festival that welcomed hundreds of people to Lakeside Patio

Monday night, the Asian American Student Association (AASA) celebrated the Lunar New Year with a campus-wide festival. There was music, dancing, and the smell of delicious foods from all over Asia.

Their planning led up to a huge party where hundreds of people gathered at Lakeside Patio to welcome in the Year of the Rabbit.

Mintra Putlek, a senior at UM and the president of AASA, said, “We have tents, a lot of lights, great food, and amazing performers.” “We try to make the event feel like the real celebrations, which is what gives it life.”

The start of a new year on the lunisolar calendar is celebrated at Lunar New Year. Since the lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, the dates of the holiday change slightly from year to year. In a cycle of 12 years, the Chinese zodiac pairs each lunar year with an animal sign. The year 2023 is the year of the rabbit.

Many Asian countries and cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year, but each has its own way of doing things. AASA wanted to share the holiday’s joy and sense of community by including traditions and performances from many different cultures.

Eva Ni, a member of the CSSA, said, “The Lunar New Year festival is one of the most important events of the year for our group.”

Every year, the event is held on campus to give students a place to celebrate and feel connected to their culture, which is important since many of them are far from home.

“Asians make up a very large share of the world’s population,” Putlek said. “But if you live somewhere that isn’t mostly Asian, you might feel out of touch with their culture.” “Holding these big events at UM brings people together and gives them a sense of pride, joy, and connection.”

The Lunar New Year is also a chance for students of all cultures to learn about the traditions of the holiday.

Ni said that the hardest part of making the festival was finding the best way to share your culture with people who aren’t part of it.

In addition to music, food, and entertainment, guests were able to take part in different activities put on by different student groups. Guests were able to play traditional games from different countries and learn more about each one. There were games from Japan, China, Vietnam, and India for people to play. Each booth was set up by a different group from UM that works on cultural issues.

“I realized that Asian customs were very different from one country to the next. Biomedical engineering sophomore Derin Kalkanoglu said, “I helped out at almost all of the booths.” “I played the Indian board game Carrom. Then I went to the CSSA booth and tried playing the big Guzheng instrument. So much fun!”

But the food was the most important part of this party. Traditional foods for the Lunar New Year are an important part of the holiday and bring people together.

Joy Wang, a junior and the former vice president of CSSA, said, “The Lunar New Year is about getting together with family and friends and sharing food.”

AASA gave the guests Sushi Maki and Chinese food to eat while they waited for the performances to start.

Mercan Yanyali, a freshman at UM, said, “The line for the food was ridiculously long, but it was totally worth the wait.”

At the end of the night, there were a number of traditional and modern performances on the patio stage by the lake.

Yanyali said, “It was great to see the traditional lion dance and the K-pop dance team from the UM.”

Check out @aasaum on Instagram to learn more about the events, groups, and performances that took place at the Lunar New Year festival.

Lowell Bowen

From the time he was 8 years old Lowell knew he wanted to be on TV. Well, as people say one thing leads to another, that's how Lowell started his career in the news industry. Lowell has been part of The South Florida Daily since the very beginning.

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