GV to host Asian New Year Festival

Courtesy: GVSU Asian Student Union

Courtesy: GVSU Asian Student Union

Autumn Babas

The annual Asian New Year Festival has been celebrated at Grand Valley State University for 26 years. Its popularity has grown immensely due to elaborate decorations, dazzling live performances and tables filled with free selections of Asian cuisine. For 2019, they will be celebrating the year of the boar.

The festival will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room 2250. The Asian New Year is a huge celebration and a time to make memories with family and friends ringing in the Lunar New Year. The Lunar calendar is celebrated by Asian countries with a variety of festivities and gatherings. The GVSU festival showcases a multitude of cultures from countries all over Asia.

The Asian New Year Festival showcases Asian traditions by bringing in a variety of different performers, featuring The Pacific Island Dancers of West Michigan, The Vietnamese Community Association and The Asian Student Union. People will be able to come and enjoy an evening full of singing, dancing and even a fashion show to top off the night.

“There will be members of the local community singing and dancing,” said Activities Coordinator for the Asian Student Union Anthony Tran. “There will be lion dances and traditional performances.” 

Along with all the performances, people can also enjoy a variety of free Asian food provided by the Kirkhof Center. The array will include fried rice, orange chicken, chow mein and other Asian American dishes. 

The Asian New Year Festival is hosted by the Asian Student Union and is open to the public. Their goal is to have more people than the previous year come out and experience the celebration.

“Students can bring their family and friends,” said volunteer Brooke Yang. “We want not only the Asian student body of GVSU to feel welcome, but to have everyone feel welcome to come.”

During the Asian New Year, the younger generation share wishes with their elders who, in return, bless the younger generation with gifts. This is a long-time Asian tradition, emphasizing the cultural significance in respecting elders. 

“The Lunar New Year is supposed to honor the household, give respect to family ancestors and begin a good new year start,” Yang said. 

The festival will also educate attendees about the holiday and better explain why it’s celebrated. The Asian Student Union makes sure people feel comfortable at the event by keeping them informed and updated with what is happening throughout the night. 

“I hope people can grasp a better understanding of the importance of the holiday and why it is celebrated,” Tran said. “We also want people to have so much fun that they want to come back next year.”

The Asian Student Union hopes people will come out and join in on the fun festivities the whole community can partake in. This lively celebration not only gives light to cultural traditions, but is full of activities to kick off the Lunar New Year on a high note.