The Western tradition of ushering in the New Year pales in comparison to the Eastern tradition for Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year. Somehow, an evening of blowing party horns, singing “Auld Lang Syne” and marveling that Dick Clark is still around just doesn’t seem to stack up against 15 days of festivals, parades and feasts, running from the first new moon of the year to the full moon.
Student Activities volunteers from the Southeast Campus gave students a small taste of the festivities with a Lunar New Year celebration, featuring games, free samples of Asian cuisine, and live origami demonstrations by Vivian Lu, who works in the Southeast Campus Library.
Like Riding a Tiny Paper Bike
Lu said she first learned origami as a child in China, where it’s used to teach elementary school students the basics of geometry. After coming to the United States in 1993 through an exchange program at the TCC South Campus, she became bored on a summer day and decided to take up origami again.
“So I just borrowed some origami book,” she said. “I took a look at it, and I said, ‘Hey, this is easy! I can do this.’ And the childhood memory just came back.”
She began experimenting by combining different patterns from different books to come up with her own unique designs. Her work became so popular that she began displaying it in the South Campus Library. Today, she is happy to pass her skills along to anyone who is interested. She told me she even teaches a class every once in a while if enough students inquire about it. She spent this particular afternoon teaching a few students how to fold some simple designs with minimal paper cuts.
Please, No Wagering
Just across the aisle, Anna Thanh Nguyen, who works in the Computer Learning Center, was busy teaching students the traditional New Year game Lucky Chess, in which participants are rewarded for correctly guessing the roll of the dice. Although a game of Lucky Chess often involves wagering, Anna assured me this demonstration was for educational purposes only.
Enter the Dragon
On the Chinese calendar, this year is known as the year of the dragon. Before you apocalypse-mongers out there head for your bunkers, please be advised that the year of the dragon is considered to be a year of good fortune in Eastern philosophy; and not a year in which fire-breathing monsters wreak havoc upon our crops and thatched-roof cottages.
Not getting eaten by a dragon is good fortune, indeed; so this year is already going your way. Have a happy Lunar New Year, and may the Lucky Chess dice roll in your favor.