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Chinese New Year Celebration

By Ying Yee Wong

The Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, started last Sunday, January 22. It is time to say farewell to the Year of the Tiger and welcome to the Year of the Rabbit of the Lunar Calendar.

Traditionally the Chinese New Year is the most important time for family reunions. Workers and students would also go back home to meet their families in China. However, it is common for many international students in the United States to be unable to go back to their hometowns to celebrate with their families because of academic studies. This year, Asian American Cultural Center invited all UIUC students to do crafts at Illinois Street Residence on Friday night, such as making a paper lantern, paper cutting with the symbol for Spring, and folding the paper to be a rabbit. They also enjoyed a lion dance performance.

A dragon decoration at Illinois Street Residence.

During the event, many university students and staff members volunteered.

“I have never made a lucky symbol before today,” said Joann Pyon, a staff member at the University of Illinois. “Then I learned how to make a Spring symbol, and I really like that because it looks like a flower.” she then taught other participants to do this craft after learning the paper cutting.

Joann Pyon holds a spring paper cutting in the new year event.

Ms. Pyon is an American-born Korean. She moved to Champaign County from California a year ago. She noticed that people who live there care more about the Chinese New Year Celebration. “The ratio of international students is relatively high compared to other schools. That should be the reason why more people would be aware of celebrating this Chinese Festival.” she said while the event was wrapping up.

International students comprise 22.6% of the University of Illinois, including Chinese students. Such circumstances raise awareness of the Chinese New Year.

Attendants make dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Year.

During the weekend, some Champaign residents also spent time together and celebrated the Lunar New Year. Gracepoint CU, a new church for international students, hosted the party. They held Bible study and later joined each other to make dumplings. “This is the first time to celebrate the new year with many new friends,” said Zeyuan Gu, a participant in this party. “It makes me feel warm though I am not with my family.”

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