Lunar New Year brings international students together

Photo by Jessica Warren
Photo by Jessica Warren


International students play games at the Lunar New Year celebration. Photo by Jessica Warren
International students play games at the Lunar New Year celebration. Photo by Jessica Warren

The Center for International Programs at Colorado State University-Pueblo hosted a Lunar New Year event Thursday night. The celebration included food, music, videos and games and was held in the Diversity Resource Center.

The event commemorated the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in many Asian cultures. These celebrations include Chinese New Year, Korean New Year and Vietnamese New Year, and they refer to the first day of a secular, sacred or another year whose months are coordinated with the cycles of the moon.

Senior business management major Jibrail Dibble was one of the students who attended the event.

“A lot of the people here were very welcoming,” Dibble said. “It was fun getting to play the traditional games, and although the food was different it was actually really good.”

Individuals at the celebration were able to interact with other international students and learn more about the Asian culture. According to Talha Qureshi, his favorite part of the event was being able to see all  the Asian music videos.

“It was also nice seeing so many different cultures coming together and honoring the Lunar New Year,” Qureshi said.

Joseph Erhardt, an international student from Japan, said they do not celebrate the New Year to coordinate with the cycles of the moon, but instead celebrate the standard New Year on January 1. Erhardt, who is majoring in business management with an emphasis in marketing, said although they do not celebrate the Lunar New Year, Japan does have a yearly traditional celebration called Tanabata.

“It celebrates the meeting of a prince and princess who are only allowed to meet once a year,” Erhardt said.

Tanabata, which is also known as the “Star Festival,” is held on various dates, but is mainly celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the traditional Japanese lunisolar calendar, which a is a month behind the Gregorian calendar. Tanabata is one of Japan’s major celebrations according to Erhardt.

Michael Sun, a junior mathematics major from China, said that his favorite thing about the Lunar New Year is getting together with his family.

“I’m sad that I can’t be with them today, but they will be Skyping me,” Sun said.

According to Sun, some of the special traditions in China include a firecracker ceremony. Firecrackers are intended to scare away evil spirits.

“I do miss receiving hóngbāo,” Sun added.

Hóngbāo, which translates to “red envelopes,” are monetary gifts mainly presented at family gatherings during the New Year celebration. The red color of the envelope is meant to symbolize good luck and ward off evil spirits.

“This year, I hope for life to get better and that everything goes well,” Sun said.

The Center for International Programs at CSU-Pueblo offers students across the globe the opportunity for an international education within a campus community. There are 189 international students from 34 different countries at the university. More information on the Center for International Programs and its sponsored events can be found on the CSU-Pueblo website at