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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Culture is shared amongst Hornets at second annual Lunar New Year event

Fullerton College’s Asian Pacific Islander and Desi American faculty team hosts a lively Lunar New Year celebration, fusing tradition with diversity and inclusion.
Nathan Bass
Holding a red envelope, a young girl looks up at her mother, Tomone Nakashima. The mom and daughter pair had just been released from a session of North Orange Continuing Education’s “Mommy and Me” parenting program. Originating in China, red envelopes are traditionally given as gifts at special occasions such as birthdays, weddings and holidays.

In anticipation of the Lunar New Year set to commence in two days, Fullerton College decorated its surroundings with vibrant red and gold outside Cruz Reynoso Hall on Thursday, Feb. 8.

At 11 a.m., students eagerly lined up to check in. Students received a stamp through a red buzzy buck ticket resembling the traditional red envelope given on the Lunar New Year, symbolizing prosperity and happiness for the upcoming year.

The air was filled with lively music, accompanied by the alluring aromas of sweet and savory traditional cuisine, ranging from chicken hot pot stickers to tofu. Attendees were treated to symbolic items such as oranges for good luck and fortune cookies, along with complimentary tote bags.

There were five booths to visit, each one punching a hole in the red tickets to signify completion. The booths contained information such as details about AGS (Alpha Gamma Sigma) Honor Society, pamphlets with this year’s APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) event calendar, and contact information for faculty who can offer students resources and support.

The highlight of the celebration was the traditional Lion dance, performed by the Ane Thanh Lion Dance group. They captivated the crowd with vibrant colors and rhythmic movements accompanied by drums and cymbals. Believed to bring good luck and protection against evil spirits, the dance infused the gathering with excitement and anticipation.

“I think it’s cool because even people who don’t identify with Asian American [culture] can see what our culture is like. [They can] enjoy the food and the dragon dance,” said Rachel Liu, a second year Computer Science major.

This marked the second annual Lunar New Year celebration at Fullerton College. Three years ago, the college attained designation as an Asian American serving institution. Starting this year, students will have Friday, Feb. 9th off in observance of the holiday.

“One of the survey questions that we had administered as a collective in classrooms and just from athletes and students, was that Asian American students did not really feel a sense of community,” said Rosie Kar, a faculty member in the Ethnic Studies Department.

In an effort to address this issue and foster a sense of belonging for Asian Pacific Islander and Desi students, the APIDA group was established two years ago.

“It originally started out as a group of faculty and classified employees, as well as students who just came together to try to create a support group for Asian American Pacific Islander and Desi American students,” said APIDA and A.S. president Isaac Choi. You know, fast forward a couple of months later, we received the grant from the government to create an APIDA Center here on campus with the help of President Olivo. [We can] increase our capacity to create events like this for Asian Americans.”

Fullerton College is one of only 13 schools nationwide to receive the AANAPISI (Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions) national grant to be utilized over the next five years.

The collaborative efforts to create a safer space on campus was visible as the crowds of students and faculty gathered. Through shared laughter and stories of tradition, the event served as a catalyst for community building and excitement, underscoring the evolving nature of the festival in only its second year.

“I think that for me, personally, it’s important to see people who look like me and like different roles. So when I see the Lunar New Year celebration, and I see everybody taking part in it, it feels more accepting for me. Not only me feeling more comfortable, but also people around me,” said Khaoi Mady, director for academic computing technologies on campus.

The festivities concluded around 12:48 p.m., yet the quad remained abuzz with children and families, showcasing the lingering energy and festivities of the event. The emergence and development of the Lunar New Year celebration on campus presents opportunities for cultural exchange and community engagement at Fullerton College.

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