Lantern Festival celebrates the closing of Lunar New Year

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Photo by Melodie Truchi-Reporter

Students at the Lantern Festival event make lanterns with their wishes on them.

Melodie Truchi

The Lunar New Year event at California Lutheran University allowed students to experience traditional Asian customs of the Lantern Festival.

Assistant Director for Center of Global Engagement Lara Raynaud said the events led from the preparation of the Lunar New Year, to the Winter Cleaning, to what’s happening on Lunar New Years Eve. The Lantern Festival is the closing of the Lunar New Year where people release their wishes for the year through the releasing of lanterns. 

At the event there was a food station set up outside that included dumplings and spring rolls to be eaten by colorful chopsticks to represent the asian culture. Inside there were stations set up to create paper lanterns, as well as Chinese board games.

An important part for holding these on campus events is to allow students to come together alongside faculty, especially after time apart during COVID-19.

“I feel like during the pandemic we all grew apart,” Raynaud said.

Student Kristina Mcgee works as a programming and events assistant under Raynaud. This was her first event since her new position and she was able to help plan the key parts such as ordering the food, setting up the lantern making station, and setting up the calligraphy spot.

“This was cool as a first event because I am Chinese and I haven’t celebrated the Lunar New Year since I was adopted from China so it was really cool to partake in a mini celebration this year,” Mcgee said.

Mcgee said that she would’ve come to this event even if she wasn’t working because of her background making her interested in this event. 

“It allows people to meet others who they haven’t met before,” Mcgee said.

Student Emma Kohara, promoted the event as she does social media marketing for the Center for Global Engagement (CGE). 

“I think it’s really cool that we do cultural events on campus so I was more excited about this one,” Kohara said. 

The international community on campus is small so she was not expecting a big turnout.

Communications Coordinator for the CGE Jessi Soporito, also started her position last month.

“It’s an amazing turnout, the food went so fast, people were very very excited for that,” Soporito said. 

Soporito said the weather was expected to have been windy and rainy so that is why the event location had changed from Kingsmen Park to the Student Union.

“With all the paper and the food it was definitely easier to do it inside and I think that was probably the best thing we could’ve done all along,” Soporito said. 

Director of Education Abroad Matthew Yates came to the event to support his colleagues. Although he didn’t help plan this particular event he made sure students that were interested in studying abroad knew about this event and he helped to get the word out on social media. 

“We at Cal Lutheran are really excited about engaging globally and including everyone and their whole perspective. So hopefully students can take that message and meet someone new,” Yates said. 

Associate Provost for Global Engagement Christina Sanchez looks for ways to internationalize the campus. 

“I think for our students in particular, having programming outreach educational events is a way to have experiential learning right here on campus,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez plans to engage students by sharing more about traditions and customs from around the globe

“For our international students who already celebrate for them to share their knowledge and culture and for those who are new, they are also able to participate,” Sanchez said. 

The Lunar New Year Event is one of the many fun events that are held on campus by the Center for Global Engagement

“The center is awesome. We have a lot of fun activities planned for the rest of the semester and the rest of the year and we are really excited to see what we can do now that we can hold more events like this,” Soporito said.