Paula Phounsavath | Contributing Writer
On Jan. 31, the Asian Pacific-American Student Union (APASU), an Asian community-organization that brings awareness to the Asian culture at ODU, celebrated their annual Lunar New Year event in the North Cafe of the Webb Center. APASU has organized the event in collaboration with the Filipino-American Student Association (FASA), the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) and the Japanese and American Student Association (JASA.)
The Lunar New Year originated from mainly Northern China since third-millennium BCE, as stated by Columbia University. The event is celebrated annually by many Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, South Korea and more. Many of those countries would host festive events based on the Lunar calendar, which follows the 12-year cycle.
Culturally, the Lunar New Year is a 15-day event of where family members gather around, exchanging red envelopes with money inside and blessing one another to start anew. This Lunar New Year is the Year of the Pig; the next 12-year cycle for the pig will be in 2031.
The festive event here at ODU started off with an opening performance by Polynesian performers from Halau Kahealani, dressed in their dancing attire of yellow wrapped skirts, coconut bras and feather headpieces. The girls vigorously shook their hips along with radiant smiles as audiences cheered for them.
After the opening performance, dinner was announced as Panda Express provided a generous amount of catering. Followed by a brief interval of people eating and greeting other, Jow Ga Kung Fu, a kung-fu school based in Virginia Beach and Newport News, introduced themselves with a drum performance. They then showed an array of performances of Kung Fu techniques, there were dragon dances and more drumming performances.
Student-athlete on ODU’s wrestling team, APASU and FASA member, Brandon Ramos, expressed his take on the Lunar New Year, “The Lunar New Year is a time of new beginnings and self-improvement.”
When asked about the takeaway of the APASU organization and other Asian organizations on campus Ramos said, “Joining APASU is an organization of understanding your culture and learning more about the history of other Asian cultures.”
Another student business major and FASA member, Jamayca Madolid, stated her New Years resolution as, “Building stronger connections and relationships with people.” and also, “Being less dependent on coffee.”
A student exercise science major who is also an APASU and FASA member, Keith Williams, said Lunar New Year is a tradition he adopted with his friends because, “The close friendships I’ve made throughout the years, so to me it’s celebrating the bonds that I’ve made.” He also included about APASU, “Just like any club, they promote unity build connections and it is a good support system for those that feel like they don’t have a support system.”
Regardless of race or culture, the APASU’s Lunar New Year event was an event that brought people together. Through the Lunar New Year event, the Asian community organizations on campus empower its members. Everyone is treated like a family away from family. They carry their Asian values of never losing their traditions and applying that to school.
Lastly, a student that’s also an APASU and FASA member said how being apart of those organizations impacted her on the New Year, “APASU [and FASA] has impacted me with the New Year by teaching myself and others the importance of any Asian tradition and celebration by coming up with fun events for people to come to enjoy and learn.”
The Asian community organizations are always welcoming towards interested members, if you would like to join any of these organizations, don’t be afraid to come by the U-Center of the Webb to meet some of the members.
Princess APASU President’s Email: email@example.com
Tien’s APASU E-Board Member’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org