Festive Lunar New Year Celebration Held

January 30, 2023

An impressive array of Asian culture was on display as St. John’s University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Project AIM hosted the 20th annual Lunar New Year Celebration on January 27.

Among the gorgeous mosaic of organizations participating in the festive celebration in the D’Angelo Center ballroom on St. John’s Queens, NY, campus were students representing alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority, Inc.; the Chinese Students and Scholars Association; Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc.; Philippine-Americans Reaching Everyone; and the Vietnamese Student Association.

In East Asian astrology, 2023 is designated the year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit symbolizes mercy, elegance, and beauty. It is one of the luckiest of the 12 animals for both wealth and career. The year 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope.

Ching-Wen Rosa Yen ’03GEd, ’12G, Director of International Student Development and Multicultural Affairs, has coordinated the annual event for the last two decades. Gazing out the panoramic windows as the evening sun set over the New York City skyline, she beamed with cultural pride as she observed, “Queens is one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world, and St. John’s is a microcosm of that diversity. We celebrate the Lunar New Year and so much more here tonight.”

As a lengthy line of students waited to check in to the event, others got calligraphy lessons, purchased raffle tickets, and mingled in anticipation for the lively celebration that featured Asian food, a traditional lion dance, cultural performances by a professional dance team, and St. John’s Asian student organizations. The dinner menu included authentic Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese cuisine; bubble tea; and Asian pastries.

Elmhurst, NY, native Lauren Phu, a senior studying Communication Arts and a member of Kappa Phi Lambda, an Asian interest sorority, was one of the student speakers at the event. “We all come together for a Lunar New Year dinner like you would in a traditional Asian household,” she explained. “This event serves to bring more awareness and appreciation for Asian culture on campus. St. John’s is right in the backyard of Queens, and it is such a multicultural place. I am proud to be part of the cultural experience here.”

Hailing from Madrid, Spain, Ignacio Prieto is a Business Analytics major and a Student Coordinator for Project AIM, a peer-mentoring program that promotes student success by supporting student engagement, community-building, personal development, and retention of first-year and second-year international students. “This event depicts the international community here at St. John’s who share and celebrate their cultures,” he said. “It is great to see so many students supporting each other.”

Joel Stephen from Trinidad and Tobago, a junior studying Management at The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, agreed, sharing, “The Lunar New Year dinner is a grand celebration and a proud St. John’s tradition featuring a fusion of Asian culture.”