Chinese New Year is here again. Before I continue, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Chinese New Year. I hope everyone is in the pink of health, with good fortune and good results in the exams!
This is my second year spending Chinese New Year in the States, and the third year that I did not go back to my hometown to celebrate due to the death of my paternal grandfather in 2013. This Monkey year has been quite uneventful for me as I had to prepare for four examinations. By the end of the first week of Chinese New Year, I was so exhausted that I did not feel like going anywhere to celebrate. Luckily for me, I had already celebrated beforehand with some of my friends.
On Thursday February 4th, I attended a Lunar New Year celebration that was hosted by a sorority chapter, Sigma Psi Zeta, which I found to be quite surprising because it was quite unusual for the Greek houses to do something like this. Fraternities and sororities are social organizations that students can join. It is considered a popular option for freshmen to join a fraternity or a sorority because it is a great way to meet new people. Usually, fraternities only admit guys, and sororities only admit girls. Rushing and pledging are needed to join a fraternity and sorority. This is usually done through attending social events, and if the officers or members like the person, or rushee, they would extend a bid or an invitation to that person to join their fraternity or sorority. I was not interested in the Greek life because I felt it was restricting my freedom as it does require a lot of commitment.
The interesting thing about Sigma Psi Zeta is that it is a multicultural sorority with quite a few Asian Americans in it. As I had a club meeting before the event, I arrived in time only to find out that all the snacks they had prepared were gone, save for a few candies. Because of the lack of food, I knew that the event must be quite popular. I even met some of my friends unexpectedly there.
The celebration also included a lion dance, which to me, was something that I had not seen for quite a while. The last time I saw a lion dance was during the 2015 Malaysian Night that I helped organize when I was still in the Malaysian student organization. This lion dance, however, was one of the better ones because it had four lions that were dancing all around the room and stage. I felt like I was back home in Malaysia watching a lion dance performance.
On Friday February 5th, the Malaysian student organization hosted a Chinese New Year celebration. I brought my friends including two Americans to enjoy the celebration.
The celebration had typical Chinese New Year songs playing throughout the night and karaoke singing too. They even had one of the Chinese New Year traditions, which was ‘yee sang’ tossing which made me really happy. During last year’s celebration which was organized by myself, another close friend and some past committee members, we also managed to organise a ‘yee sang’, although this year’s is tastier and more authentic than the one I made.
There was another event called China Night, that was hosted by the Chinese student organization here as well. Unfortunately, I did not get tickets to the event and decided that it was a little too expensive ($20) as compared to Malaysian Night this year ($16). However, through the pictures on Facebook, I saw that their event was comparable to a normal full-course reunion dinner that I would be able to get from home.
Chinese New Year has always been one of my favourite celebrations because of the food and its celebratory mood. This year was no exception, except that I was buried with examinations and felt quite tired after all that studying. I did manage to get some ang pows from my family in Malaysia though, so I am happy about that!