Stability and calm. This is what 2021, the year of the ox, was meant to bring. While volatile and frenetic at times, 2021 has been a year spent grounding us in a new reality. This year – the year of the tiger – brings new opportunities, adventures and changes, according to the Chinese zodiac.
As the Lunar New Year approaches on February 1, the Asian American Student Association at the University of Georgia prepares for its biggest annual event – Lunars. Scheduled for February 5, Lunars will celebrate the diversity within the Asian population at UGA.
Lunars will feature a wide variety of entertainment including a short film by Enoch Lee, a UGA alumnus, a fashion show, traditional songs and other performances.
In 2021, Lunars was organized as a drive-in showcase in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the event returns in person to the Tate Grand Hall. The AASA has established a COVID-19 Protocol Team to assess risk and establish guidelines for the event.
Lunars event co-director and biochemistry student Vy Hoang said Lunars is more important than ever because Asian students at UGA need a community.
“It’s been a very tough year for Asian Americans overall,” Hoang said. She said there is a negative association between Asians and COVID, and she hopes the event will bring a sense of unity.
The number of anti-Asian incidents and crimes has risen sharply since the start of the pandemic, according to NPR.
Ashley Dey, a sophomore in cell biology and co-organizer of Lunars, also recognized the importance for Asian students to find the courage and resilience to stay true to their cultural roots, traditions and communities after these trials.
“Lunars is just about uniting us as a minority on campus and reminding us that there is still hope. We can find that bravery in ourselves even though we have all been through so much during the pandemic,” Dey said.
Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate new beginnings, get together as a family, work out the final details, and enter the New Year with a clean slate.
In the tradition of the Chinese zodiac, each year is represented by an animal, which repeats every 12 years. The animals represent different qualities that will define not only the year, but also the people born during it.
Lunar New Year celebrations vary widely across cultures, regions, villages, and households. However, they traditionally take place over 16 days, with New Year’s Day falling on the new moon day between January 21 and February 20 – usually the second new moon after the winter solstice.
The AASA Lunars Celebration falls on the fifth day of the New Year. Its theme is “Loyal, Brave & True,” which pays homage to a song from the 2020 live-action adaptation of “Mulan.”
“You have to be brave for yourself, true to your culture and your family and also always true to your individuality,” Hoang said. “[This sentiment] really stands the test of time…you have to teach yourself not to be afraid.
The event’s decorations and theme will also channel the glamor and luxury of the 2018 film “Crazy Rich Asians,” according to Hoang. Performers and event organizers will be dressed and attendees are encouraged to do the same.
Tickets for Lunars are available for $10 and can be purchased through the UGA AASA Instagram page through February 3. There will be a limited number of tickets available to ensure social distancing is possible during the event.