International Club to celebrate Lunar New Year with Asian Night


Whether a celebration of rebirth, reunion, honor, or tradition, Lunar New Year has been a fundamental holiday in Chinese and Taiwanese culture for thousands of years, marking the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese Lunar Calendar.

For 2020, Lunar New Year, also referred to as Chinese New Year, falls on Friday, Jan. 25 and will commence the Year of the Rat, one of the 12 zodiac animals which cycle through each year. The holiday will last 15 days until its closing during the Lantern Festival on Feb. 8.

To celebrate this important holiday in Chinese culture, th

e International Club is planning to host a commemorative event on Jan. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium. In the past, Guilford has been a hub for Chinese New Year celebrations. However, this year, the club has titled its event Asian Night as a way to resemble a more inclusive celebration.

“The Asian New Year is where we are going to incorporate a

ll of the Asian cultures we can into the form of a traditional Chinese New Year celebration,” said senior and Treasurer of the International Club Anthony Carr. “The inspiration came from one of our professors Zhihong Chen. She referenced a similar celebration that we had done in the past with multiple other departments.”

Asian Night will be hosted by Guilford College and Asian American International Cultural Center and co-hosted with the Greensboro Chinese Association, Triad Nepalese Comm

unity Center and Cambodian Cultural Center of NC. In addition, the International Club has received numerous donations for the event from neighboring restaurants such as P.F. Chang’s as well as campus departments, including the Office of Global and Off-Campus Initiatives.

From ceremonial dances to traditional poetry readings, the club has scheduled a series of performances to showcase the beauty and intricacies in a wide variety of Asian cultures. One of these performances will be a leading ceremonial singer named Meiyu Wang. Traditional food, clothes,

and songs will also be present at the event.

“Essentially, we will be having lots of food, music, and performances by multiple artists around North Carolina,” said International Club President Sabrina Farah.

Although the ‘Asian New Year’ had not been acknowledged in the past, the International Club board hopes that it will take off this time.

“I did help plan an event two years ago, and that event that had sparked quite a bit of interest,” said Farah. “But it did not pick up in the continuing years. We want to make up for those years and make this Asian New Year the best that Guilford has seen.”

Since they have so much in store, the International Club hopes to host a wide variety of attendees at their event to share their love for the holiday and Asian culture in general. Senior and Secretary of International Club Kentaro Nakajima was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and believes in the importance of learning about other cultures.

“Asian Night is important for not only International Club but also Guilford College and the community across the board,” Kentaro said. “The event will give not only students but also people around the campus an opportunity to learn about Asian culture through performances and food.”

Carr also emphasized the event’s value.

“I really think it’s important to show people these cultures,” said Carr. “And expose them to how intricate the cultures originating outside the US are. It leads to people being more comfortable and engaging with different kinds of people.”

As with the other International Club members, the holiday carried special meaning for Farah. 

“Chinese New Year is important for me and International Club because in the past, there has been an underrepresentation for holidays other than the most popular American holidays,” said Farah. “Chinese New Year signifies good fortune, starting the new year fresh, gathering with others to celebrate and essentially ‘taking a break’ from your busy life. And it represents giving each other best wishes for the new lunar cycle. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that?” 

As Chinese New Year draws near, look out for more information about the event coming in the Guilfordian.

Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 9 of The Guilfordian on Jan. 24, 2020.