Following a closely-held tradition, the Chinese Language and Culture Club (CLCC) held the annual Lunar New Year dinner at the Multicultural Center at 30 College Street on February 17.
Celebrating the 15th day of the first month of the lunisolar calendar—known as the Lantern Festival in China, which transposes to February 15 in the Gregorian calendar this year—the day marks the conclusion of Spring Festival celebrations in many East Asian cultures.
“We host different operations for different holidays, and it’s really just a space where Chinese students and anybody interested in China can come learn, have fun and connect,” President of the CLCC Nicholas Orofino ’22 said.
Having joined the CLCC his first year, Orofino recalled prior events being held with catering from Sichuan Kitchen in Portland before Covid-19 protocols prevented last year’s celebrations.
“We would have different professors and speakers come in from each culture and ethnicity within Asia and they would have a little talk about what the Chinese New Year means to them and what the Lunar New Year means to them,” Orofino said.
Orofino described the event as a “group effort” and noted that the event planning involved a variety of different affinity groups, including the Vietnamese Student Association and the Asian Student Association. The CLCC also secured funding from the Student Activities Funding Committee (SAFC), the Center for Multicultural Life as well as a private donor within the Asian Studies department.
“We’ve hosted events at 30 College in the past … and we knew it was going to be hard to get an area in Thorne and we wanted a more intimate [setting],” Orofino said of the venue choice, which included roundtables traditionally used in East Asia for intimate gatherings. “People could sit around the table to talk, hang out and just celebrate all the Lunar New Year values.”
The food served at the event included dumplings from Trader Joe’s cooked by CLCC members, spring rolls from Lemongrass and boba tea from Watami. Orofino said he was happy with the turnout and engagement of the event and hopes to revive the club’s tradition of weekly dinners and host other future events.