By Jenny Shen ’23
Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year among many East and Southeast Asian cultures. In Mandarin, it’s known as the Spring Festival or Chūnjié, while Koreans refer to it as Seollal, and the Vietnamese call it Tết. The New Year typically begins with the first new moon that occurs between the end of January and spans the first 15 days of the first month of the lunar calendar—until the full moon arrives. Each year, the festival is represented by one of the twelve zodiac animals. This year is the year of the rabbit, but for the Vietnamese, it is the year of the cat. Each Asian culture celebrates the Lunar New Year differently with various cuisine and traditions that celebrates prosperity, abundance, and togetherness. Some examples of this in various cultures include:
China: Dumplings, Dragon Dance, Fireworks, Red Couplets & Paper Cuts & Fu Character, Red Packet, etc.
Vietnam: Banh Chung, Thit Kho Trung, Firecrackers, Drum, Lucky Money, Ancestor Worship, etc.
Korea: Ddeokguk, Bulgogi, Ancestor Worship, Festival Games (ex. Yut, Jegichagi), Sebae, etc.
In order to make the FGS Lunar New Year celebration more home-like, this year ASA (Asian Student Association) hosted a dumpling-making event on January 22nd. Prior to this event, the ASA members had several meetings with Mr. Rathekey and Mr. Poole to gather ingredients and recipes for the dumplings. In the end, ASA decided to make pork and cabbage dumplings with a delicious recipe from a former FGS faculty. Thanks go to Mr. Poole, who bought all the meat, vegetables, and dumpling skins and made the fillings all by himself. Thanks also go to Mr. Ratheky, who negotiated with the dining hall staff so these hand-made dumplings could be shared with the whole school during the New Year dinner. Lastly, thanks to all the students, Jenny Shen, Joanna Jin, Aria Trotta, Nina Lamb, Joshua Li, Zachery Peng, Catherine Lu, Jim Nguyen, and Owen Sullivan, who came to the dumpling-making event and made more than 250 dumplings altogether.
During the Lunar New Year dinner, FGS student Yoyo Zhang expressed, “You can see the integration of culture when you watch the local students trying out the dumplings. When most of them enjoy the food and ask for more of it, you can feel an appreciation for your own culture, making the New Year celebration this year a unique and unforgettable one.” Other than Yoyo, many students also conveyed their excitement of seeing their own dumplings being served in the dining hall and claimed that this should become a continuous tradition in the years to come.
Lastly, I just want to say: HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! WELCOME TO 2023!