At a Feb. 10 celebration of the Lunar New Year hosted by the SCCC Asian Culture Club, tradition and culture were the main dishes on display.
The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays in the Asian culture. It is the start of their year based on the lunar calendar. There is no specific date for this celebration, but it is generally held between Jan. 21 and Feb. 10. This year it was Feb. 16. Each year is represented by an animal from the Chinese zodiac, and 2018 is the year of the dog.
Red and gold, which represent good luck, positivity and festivity in the Asian culture, decorated the entrance.
“There are different ways to celebrate this holiday, depending on the country. What we do here is a Chinese celebration, since there is a big Chinese community around,” said Linh Cai, a student at SCCC and member of the Asian Culture Club.
Suffolk County is the home of more than 50,000 Asian people, which represents a 3.7 percent of the county’s population, according to Suburban Stats.
A Tray of Togetherness, an eight-compartment plate composed of preserved vegetables for prosperity, coconut for togetherness, and seeds of plants for good wishes, was placed on the entrance. Next to it, there was a basket with red envelopes, which people give on New Year to their family members for good luck and abundance.
Sponsored by the Office of Campus Activities and the Asian Culture Club, the event was held in the Montauk Point Room of the Babylon Student Center and included members of the college community, as well as representatives and families from the Long Island Little Dragon Chinese School and Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu School.
“This is a space for families and all of us to enjoy. We are here to celebrate together,” said professor Vera Hu-Hyneman, faculty advisor of the Asian Culture Club.
The tables had tangerines, as the lucky fruit, arranged in groups of eight by table, since eight is also a symbol of luck. In addition, traditional food was served, such as rice, noodles, sweet and sour beef, spring rolls and dumplings.
Artistic acts, such as the Lion Dance, performed by the Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu School, and some storytelling performed by students of Long Island Little Dragons Chinese School, immersed the attendants into significant representations of the culture.
This culture has a big influence locally, and they wanted to create a space on campus to cherish their traditions away from their homelands.
Adriana Gonzalez, who attended the event, said, “It is important to encourage more people to participate, so we can open our minds to different ways to see the world around us.”