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Mace & Crown | April 24, 2018

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Vietnamese Culture Fest Celebrates New Year

Petra Rich
Contributing Writer

Students of the Vietnamese Student Association engaged in traditional dance, a two-part fashion show and even some karaoke as Vietnamese Culture Fest filled the North Café of Webb Center with vibrant color and fun on Feb. 3.

The night started with VSA members singing the American and Vietnamese national anthems representing that while they are Americans, they still honor and celebrate their roots.

Chúc mừng năm mới translates to “Happy New Year” in English and was the overarching theme of the festival. Throughout the night, everyone would be called to the stage and given red envelopes filled with small amounts of money, which is a tradition in Vietnamese culture for New Year’s, weddings and other big events. These envelopes are called “lai see” and represent good luck.

The multiple dances of the night began with a lion dance that is performed at traditional Vietnamese events such as New Year’s celebrations. Two VSA members dressed in a vibrant lion costume and danced around the room, followed by other members beating a barrel drum and playing the symbols. The dances added acrobatic elements by one person jumping onto the other to appear as a lion standing on it’s hind legs.

Later, VSA members split up into two groups made up of guys and girls. The men performed a traditional Vietnamese hat dance by using conical or rice hats to create stunning visuals. The women performed a traditional fan dance with fans that were white at the bottom and had bright pink, blue, yellow or orange decorations, creating beautiful visual illusions.

The two-part fashion show featured the girls in the typical formal Vietnamese robes known as “ao dai’s.” These robes were brightly colored, while some were decorated with sequins. In the second portion of the show, the girls wore traditional dresses that are most common among Vietnam natives. The boys wore the formal event attire for Vietnamese men in both parts of the show.

There were a variety of Vietnamese dishes provided at the event, including rice and lo mein noodles, chicken, beef and pork kabobs and sandwiches. They also provided pork egg rolls, shrimp and vegetarian spring rolls. Dessert was Vietnamese jello, which is only different from American jello because of its solid form.

As the night concluded, VSA members took to the stage to tell their stories and experiences. They spoke about how the organization is one big family divided into subfamilies of earth, fire, water and air. They often have competitions and games where they compete against each other for bonding experiences.

“If you want to join a family, we’ll welcome you with open arms,” junior Rose Huynh said.