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Inside Green River’s Lunar New Year celebration


The Mak Fai Washington Kung Fu Club performs a traditional Lion Dance.

Lunar New Year is an annual celebration where deities and ancestors are honored for the bountiful harvest of the previous year, and prayers are said for the same abundance in the coming year. Based on the lunisolar calendar, which indicates both the moon phase and time of the solar year, Lunar New Year is an important occasion in many Central and East Asian cultures. Many countries celebrate Lunar New Year, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea and Singapore - all of which are represented by the international student population at Green River.

Lunar New Year is a time of family reunion and customs that bring relatives and communities together. Lunar New Year traditionally spans the first 15 days of the lunar month, with a family reunion dinner on New Year's Eve and different customs reserved for each of the 15 days that follow. In most countries, the public holidays last two or three days.

For international students at Green River, this means that Lunar New Year can be a time of abject loneliness coupled with severe pangs of homesickness. Hence, the annual Lunar New Year celebration at Green River is an important occasion to international students because it provides a safe environment for them to celebrate their culture. It also provides distraction from what they're missing out on at home.

Martial Arts demo
Performing martial arts demonstrations.

On-campus Lunar New Year festivities add to the cultural diversity at Green River, and many international students happily share their customs with students, faculty and staff members from other countries. Approximately 215 students attended this year's Jan. 31 celebration, which included cultural performances. Dean of Campus Life Dani Chang and International Student Activities Programmer Joel Goh emceed the stage.

The most popular performers were the plate dance, or "Tari Piring," by the Indonesian Student Organization and the Lion Dance and Kung Fu demonstration by the Mak Fai Washington Kung Fu Club Lion Dance Team.  Following the cultural showcase, there was a dance party on Level one and a mini casino on Level two of the Lindbloom Student Center.

This year's Lunar New Year celebration was organized by the CLEO (Community Leadership, Education and Outreach) International Student Ambassador Team.

LNY team

The Lunar New Year planning team, from left: Zack Rude, Dema Issa, Gloria Tan, Joon Mo Hong, Risqa Syakhroza, Zack Apiratitham, Joel Goh, Tian Yin, and Martha Koch. Photo by the GRCC photography club.

The six-member team was composed of five International Student Ambassadors (Joon Mo Hong, Tian Yin, Risqa Syakaroza, Zack Apiratitham and Gloria Tan) and one International Student Activities Programmer (Joel Goh).

International Programs Staff supervisors Martha Koch, Zack Rude and Nicole Wooldridge oversaw the team.  For this event, Zack Apiratitham was the Club Performance Coordinator, Joel Goh the Off-Campus Entertainment Coordinator, Risqa Syakhroza the Volunteer Coordinator, Joon Mo Hong the Food and Catering Services Coordinator, Dema Issa the Decorations Coordinator, and Project Manager Gloria Tan Project Manager helped oversee the discussions.