Campus News

SU Chinese Union hosts spring gala for Lunar New Year

SU Chinese Union hosts spring gala for Lunar New Year

The student-produced event celebrating the Year of the Dragon was filled with dance, music and food.

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Greta Stuckey
XCUSE dance team performs at the Chinese Union spring gala.

On Friday night, Feb. 2, the Chinese Union gathered members of the SU community in a spring gala to commence celebrations of the Lunar New Year. Students performed pop music, dances and traditional Chinese folk songs while enjoying local Chinese food in Goldstein Auditorium.

The Lunar New Year officially begins on February 10, 2024, and lasts until the Lunar New Year’s Eve on January 28, 2025. The holiday marks the end of the year of the Rabbit and begins that of the Dragon.

In Chinese culture, the dragon is a symbolic animal representing authority, dignity, honor, success, luck and capacity.

The celebrations last up to 16 days and involve a variety of festivals, family parties, fireworks and the famous lion dance. Families typically gather for the Lunar New Year’s Eve reunion dinner to kick off the holiday with a spread of dishes like whole fish to bring good luck and fortune, according to the National Museum of Asian Art

“The new year is like Christmas for us,” gala attendee Jack Xing said. “I’m an international student, so I can’t celebrate with family. Coming together at school events is the next best thing we can do to support each other and our community.”

People flooded into the Schine Student Center to find seats around 6 p.m.; those who didn’t have tickets to the sold-out event were seated in the upper balcony of the auditorium.

“Today is a day of reunion and joy,” the Chinese Union president Ruohan Xu said at the start of the gala. “We are serving as a bridge between Chinese, Asian and American culture as well as international culture.”

On the main floor sat round tables where attendees enjoyed dinner from local Chinese restaurant Red Chili. The meal was complete with a variety of familiar dishes including fried rice, steamed vegetables, lo mein and dumplings.

“My friends and I came for the delicious food of course,” said student attendee Yuan Feng while eating at the gala. “I also love watching the traditional Chinese dance.”

Team ROC Dance Crew at the Chinese Union spring gala
Greta Stuckey
Team ROC Dance Crew performs at the Chinese Union spring gala.

The gala featured 15 student performances ranging from solo singing to large group dances. Vocal performers sang both traditional Chinese songs and popular hits. The medley of genres including pop, rock, dance and rap kept the crowd engaged for over three hours of performances. 

XCUSE and the ROC Dance Crew were among the larger dance teams to perform, and they proved to entertain the audience. Chinese Union member Yiming Cai echoed Feng, saying she enjoyed the event for the dancing and cuisine.

To break up the performances, the event hosts ran activities for audience engagement. Participants were invited on stage to face off against each other in games, and the winner was awarded a gift card and other prizes. The night ended with a combined group dance and well wishes for a happy new year from Xu. 

Since the Lunar New Year is celebrated over several days, there will be a series of events held across campus. The series includes food service pop-ups, a Newhouse School Lunar New Year celebration, a School of Architecture Lunar New Year Celebration, and a Chinese Students and Scholars Association New Year Gala. The full list of events can be found here