Photo Contribution by Serena Anagbe
On Jan. 18, Laurier International hosted a Lunar New Year celebration in the One Market atrium.
Lunar New Year is celebrated by many East Asian cultures to celebrate the first new moon of the year. Lunar New Year is based off the Lunisolar calendar in which months follow the cycle of the moon.
The event was Laurier International’s first time celebrating Lunar New Year in-person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who attended painted their own paper lanterns, watched a traditional lion dance performance, were treated to a special dinner and heard the Chinese Grand River Symphony play.
“We wanted to welcome students back to campus, to celebrating and getting together,” said Jane Desmond, an international student advisor on the Brantford campus.
“We have a strong group of international student leaders that put their heads together, created the menu and decided on the activities and presentations,” said Desmond.
Laurier International tries its best to cater to a wide range of dietary needs, said Desmond.
“When a student comes to our events here at Laurier International, they can be sure that if they eat halal food, we’re going to have it,” she said. “If they’re vegan or vegetarian, we’ll make sure we have that for them.”
Offering more inclusive food options is one of the items included in Laurier’s Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion that was approved in late 2022, and for Aqsa Shafi, a second-year business technology management student, it makes quite a difference.
“I really like International events because they’re halal,” said Shafi, who had never celebrated Lunar New Year before. “I can just eat whatever I want as long as it’s not bacon.”
The event drew the attention of several students who likely wouldn’t have celebrated Lunar New Year otherwise.
“This is my first time,” said Max Landry, a second-year business technology management student. “I’ve received a red pocket before, but I’ve never known anything about it.”
Around Lunar New Year, it’s tradition to gift others red envelopes filled with money to symbolize good luck for the year ahead. In Chinese culture especially, red is seen as a lucky colour.
This year, Lunar New Year fell on Sunday, Jan. 22.