Trojans from Troy to China, Malaysia and Vietnam are celebrating the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Tiger.
The Center for International Languages and Cultures at Troy University hosted its first Tea Talk for the spring semester on Feb. 3 with Lunar New Year as its focus.
“We wanted to make it open for everyone, so we didn’t just concentrate on ‘Chinese New Year,’ said Austin Deal, assistant director of the Center. “Chinese students, Vietnamese students, Korean students and others all came together for the celebration.”
During the event, Dr. Rui Feng, Distinguished professor in the College of Education, and Deal introduced attendees to the meanings and origins of the Lunar New Year and some of the foods involved in the celebration of the event.
More than 40 students, faculty, staff and members of the public enjoyed several traditional Asian foods such as fried rice, spring rolls, fried dumplings, salted chicken and hot tea. They also heard the about the meaning of the Year of the Tiger and the origin of the traditional dragon symbol found in many Asian cultures.
The children of the Coleman Center for Early Learning and Family Enrichment on the Dothan Campus were also treated to a special Lunar New Year program by the Center.
They heard about dragon lore from Deal, and Dothan faculty and staff presented a dragon dance to the children, and Center staff presented them with a Chinese knot, traditionally a good-luck charm when given during the Lunar New Year.
Also known as “Spring Festival” in China, Luna New Year celebrations take place in most Asian countries. In Vietnam, Tet is a time for families.
“Our students in Vietnam are home with their families during this time. Tet is focused on family celebrations with multiple generations preparing food for the celebrations.” said Sharron Becton, Director of International Sites. “A lot is associated with the Lunar New Year and it really does focus of spending time with family, much like our own Christmas break is in the United States.”
Another similarity: trees. Apricot and peach trees are symbols of spring in Vietnam and are incorporated into festivities.
In Malaysia, where TROY has had long-standing ties to higher education, SEGi-TROY students celebrated Lunar New Year on Friday, Feb. 11 with a lion dance and other traditional festivities, Becton said.