The Lunar New Year has begun and Trinity students will have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with the annual Lunar New Year festival, hosted by the Japanese Culture Club, the Vietnamese Student Association, the Chinese Culture Club and the Korean Student Association. Members from each of the four clubs have been working on a committee to equally coordinate all aspects of the event.

“We have the festival because Lunar New Year is the biggest cultural event among East Asian cultures,” said Tam Ngo, coordinator of Lunar New Year and member of the Vietnamese Student Association. “People who are from these cultures can feel like they are at home because they can feel the festive atmosphere here at Trinity while they’re away from home.”

Students from all four organizations will be performing various musical acts, including a Chinese ribbon dance, a hip-hop dance, Japanese Bon Odori and traditional singing. There will be poetry recited by faculty from the Chinese department as well.

The Lunar New Year began Feb. 19. In East Asian culture, students usually have their winter break during this time, much like how American students receive time off to celebrate the winter holidays in December and January.

“The festival is about spreading our culture on this campus,” said Ellen Liaw, member of the public relations group of the Lunar New Year committee and performer in Lunar New Year. “It really means a lot to us. Since we’re not able to be at home back in Asia when we would usually have our winter break off, it’s a chance for us to get together and experience this festival and to share it with everyone on campus and in our community.”

When the Lunar New Year festival first began at Trinity, it was held in the Fiesta Room. Over the years it has become more popular among students and has moved to Laurie Auditorium. The Japanese Culture Club will be joining the festival this year, so the organizations are expecting a larger audience than last year.

Members of the Lunar New Year committee also sent out individualized invitations to faculty and staff.

“Showing appreciation to instructors, supervisors and teachers is a very crucial thing in Asian culture, especially for the Lunar New Year festival,” Ngo said. “In Vietnamese culture, we celebrate the first day of Lunar New Year with family, the second day with friends and the third day with teachers. This year we’ll have appreciation shown on stage for faculty and staff as well.”

The Lunar New Year festival will be co-hosted by senior Christopher Williams and first year Bob Le. Williams also co-hosted the event last year.

“I think cultural events like this are beneficial to the Trinity and San Antonio community because there is no better place to learn about someone else’s culture than at a university,” Williams said. “We have a melting pot here, and all of these cultures are just right around the corner in your classes or in your hall. Events like this give students a taste of what other cultures are like and offer a great opportunity to learn about these cultures.”

This year’s Lunar New Year festival will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, in Laurie Auditorium. There will be free Asian food provided for audience members in the foyer following the performance.