Ushering in the Year of the Rabbit, student groups across campus celebrated Lunar New Year with plans of banquets and dinners in the near future.
This year, the Lunar New Year fell on Jan. 22 — the day before spring semester classes began. Through their celebrations, affinity groups and some upperclassman houses hoped to bring the feeling of home to Harvard.
The Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association will host their annual Lunar New Year banquet next Friday, featuring performances from the Harvard Taekwondo Club, a traditional lion dance, and a multicourse family-style dinner.
Christy Zheng ’25, co-president of the Chinese Students Association, said she was “excited to bring everyone back together again.”
“Lunar New Year is just such an important holiday to the Asian community, and normally, we would be at home celebrating with our families,” she said. “But since we’re at college, we wanted to create a space where people could come and celebrate with their friends and still have the big feast and performances that they might have at home.”
“Lunar New Year as a holiday is just the most important, and it’s a symbol of growth and renewal — just like the new year,” she added. “And so we wanted to make sure that there’s a space to celebrate that.”
Amy Huang ’24, another co-president of the Chinese Students Association, said it is important for students to celebrate with others during the Lunar New Year.
“I think it’s really important to a lot of people here — a lot of students — to be surrounded by that community,” she said.
Henry Kuo ’23, co-president of the Harvard Taiwanese Cultural Society, said the organization plans to hold a dinner gathering in the next few weeks to celebrate Lunar New Year.
“It’s to bring together people in a community,” Kuo said. “I think people bond through eating.”
Kuo described Lunar New Year in Taiwan as a time for families to get together and see relatives they have not visited in the past year.
“This is probably the only time when everyone is on holiday,” Kuo said. “It’s kind of like Christmas in Taiwan — and everyone would go and visit their grandparents and eat together, have fun together.”
“It’s more of a family gathering for us — for TCS,” he added.
On Thursday, the Harvard Vietnamese Association hosted a Vietnamese New Year celebration — Tết — in the Lowell House dining hall. The event featured traditional food, as well as music and games.
Anna G. Luong ’25 said she attended the event because she found it difficult being away from family for the New Year.
“I think — especially being away from home and being away from family — having a little bit of an experience of what at home would be called Tết with my peers is what really drew me to this event,” she said.
“Also, they have amazing Vietnamese food,” Luong added.
Luong said that her appreciation for Lunar New Year has deepened as she has grown older.
“In the past, I would have said, ‘Oh, it’s a means of getting some extra money throughout the year,’” she said. “But now that I’m older, it really symbolizes for me appreciating my family and being able to grow up a little bit — sit at the adults’ table and talk to them, let everyone know how I’m doing, and staying in touch.”
Ethan N. Phan ’25 — social chair of HVA — said he enjoys HVA events because they feel “a little bit like being at home.”
“I really miss home and I miss my family,” he said. “And going to the Vietnamese events really feels kind of comforting and reminds me of home. It makes Harvard feel more like a welcoming space.”
—Staff writer Madeleine A. Hung can be reached at email@example.com.
—Staff writer Joyce E. Kim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.