Honoring cultures through Lunar New Year events

Flowers and an image of a rabbit

Many international students and scholars at UC Santa Cruz celebrate Lunar New Year each year. Global Programming, within the Division of Global Engagement, created the Lunar New Year webpage to be a space where the campus community can honor and showcase events celebrating the holiday.

For Lunar New Year in 2023, the webpage featured events from groups and organizations across campus. Global Programming co-sponsored and hosted events including the Winter Global Gathering, and Lunar New Year Celebrations at both the Silicon Valley Campus and the Main Campus. College 9/John R. Lewis Dining Hall offered a special themed lunch and dinner that included Asian Pork Spare Ribs, BBQ Tofu, General Tso’s Chicken, and more. Student organizations including the Chinese Student Union, Chinese Student and Scholar Association, Chinese Student Association, and Vietnamese Student Association celebrated the holiday with their own themed events.

“We were so thrilled to see so many students, scholars, faculty, and staff come out to our Lunar New Year events both on main and at Silicon Valley campuses. It really illustrated the importance of this holiday and how driven our community was to honor and share this piece of themselves with the rest of campus,” said Ng. “It was clear that students really enjoyed the lively energy and activities that really got our guests involved in embracing Lunar New Year customs and traditions.”

For many students, a salient aspect of the Lunar New Year is returning home, wherever home may be, to be surrounded by their loved ones in community. 

“We strive to create that community for those that are unable to visit family or friends as they normally would when celebrating at home,” said Andy Ng, assistant director of Global Programming.

Through on-campus Lunar New Year events, international students share cultural traditions through activities such as calligraphy and lantern/red envelope folding as well as enjoying food. Many of the on-campus activities and performances were student-planned as a way to share their own culture and provide spaces for domestic students, staff, and faculty to learn about cultural celebrations.

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