FIU celebrates Lunar New Year

The people behind the magic of the FIU Lunar New Year Event gather for a photo | Allen Blumstein, PantherNOW

Allen Blumstein | Contributing Writer 

Dragons danced and music boomed in the Graham Center ballrooms for FIU’s Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 11. 

In the Graham Center Ballroom, the Lunar New Year celebration saw a cherished tradition called the Chinese Lion Dance, which is believed to bring good fortune for the new year. 

Hidden under each Chinese tiger costume stood two young men, who masterfully controlled the costume’s movements and brought the tiger to life. The acrobats even jumped atop each other’s shoulders to create an imposing beast.  

Traditional Chinese instruments, the guzheng and zhongruan, were displayed in solo performances. 

The guzheng resembles a keyboard with strings rather than keys. The earliest guzheng ever discovered dates back to 598 BCE. 

The zhongruan–also called the moon guitar–is a beautiful instrument with a circular body, a straight neck, and four strings. 

Singing and dancing performances followed by FIU clubs and beyond including appearances by the Miami Chinese Chorus and Hua Mei Children’s Art Group.  

Performers sing the Chinese love song “At Least I Still Have You” | Allen Blumstein, PantherNOW 

One of these performers was Arabia Mercedes representing the Chinese Salon at FIU. 

Chinese is Mercedes’ fifth language learned in addition to English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamento. 

In professing her love for China, Mercedes said “I love the history, culture, and values. There is so much good food but of course Huo Guo [is my favorite].”  

Huo Guo is also known as hot pot, where the diners select from various ingredients to cook soup on a heat source on the table.   

Between the honey garlic chicken, dumplings, and fried rice, there was enough Chinese food for one man to eat for months. 

Vanessa Ruano, president of FIU’s Chinese Club and leader of FIU’s Lunar New Year extravaganza this past Saturday, spoke with PantherNOW about the goal of the celebration. 

“Last year the event was centered on Chinese New Year, but this year we made it broader, as Lunar New Year is celebrated not only in China but in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, and Vietnam,” said Ruano. 

The 2023 Lunar New Year celebration was orchestrated by seven Asian student clubs: Chinese Club, Sino-US Salon, Japan Club, Korean Culture Club, Korean Language Empowerment Club, Asian Student Union, and Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA). 

Many Asian countries, like the U.S., follow the solar calendar, in which 365 days mark a full rotation of Earth around the sun. However, some countries like China, South Korea, and Vietnam celebrate New Year’s according to the lunisolar calendar, where a year is comprised of roughly 354 days or the time it takes for the moon to make 12 full rotations around planet Earth.  

Lunar New Year falls sometime between mid-January and mid-February each year, with 2023 being the year of the rabbit. According to the Chinese zodiac, there are 12 animals that each individually represent a year, so each animal has its year every 12 years. 

People born in the year of the rabbit are believed to adopt characteristics of the rabbit itself, such as cleverness, optimism, and being easily satisfied. 

Ruano once celebrated New Year in mainland China and ensured the event at FIU did justice to the traditions and festivities of the holiday as it is celebrated in its origin country of China.  

“Picture the fourth of July and New Year’s combined… my favorite thing about the holiday is that it is a time when people come together,” said Ruano.  

A native of China and member of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association, Anlan Yan, explained that Chinese New Year is the biggest festival.  

“It is a busy time. Everyone returns to their family and eats delicious food on the night before the New Year begins. After, there are fireworks,” said Yan.“I wish everyone a happy year of the Rabbit and thank you for your support.”

Be the first to comment on "FIU celebrates Lunar New Year"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.