What do fireworks, “red pockets” and new clothes have in common? Well, usually nothing; but when it comes to Asian New Year celebrations, they have everything in common.
This is a new year, the year of the Ox to be specific, and Eastern decided to celebrate. An Asian New Year style dinner was held in the PUB MPR on Monday, Jan. 26th. It was set up into four stations including sushi, lettuce wraps and an assortment of many other Asian inspired dishes.
“The Thai curry noodles are my favorite. The sauce is fantastic,” said Nathan Reid, a Production Chef at Baldy’s. Reid was one of the chefs who worked on the meal over the course of several days. In his nearly seven years of working in dining services, Reid said he had never seen such an extravagant array of ingredients for one dinner. All of the food was ordered in especially for this specific night.
Not only was the food to die for, but the students were able to interact with the staff. There were workers at each of the stations to answer questions and to provide quality service. The sushi station had already portioned plates for students to pick up, but they also had the sushi made right there for the attendees to see. The lettuce wraps were set up as a build-your-own and the other tables were self-serve.
“If this goes over well with the students, Baldy’s may start to include sushi grade fish into everyday sushi,” Reid said. This would add more of a selection of sushi for everyday enjoyment.
Those in dining services were clearly excited about event, but were the students? Cindy Hua, a 20-year-old business major, says that the celebration was a good way for people to learn about Asian culture. Hua, who was born and raised in China, loves the celebration of the New Year or, as it is otherwise called, “Spring Festival.” In China, not only do they celebrate with a feast and brand new clothes for the occasion, but they also have a fireworks display. “Fireworks are better in China than here,” claims Hua. She also likes receiving “red pockets” which are red colored pouches that contain money.
When asked what she would like to see at any future Asian New Year dinners at EWU, Hua replied, “real Chinese food.” Dumplings are her favorite and are considered a traditional food to eat for the New Year celebration.
The major difference between American New Year and Asian New Year? The Asian New Year is not on a set date. Their celebration falls on the first day of that year according to the lunar calendar. The ox is the same as Capricorn in the western astrological zodiac. The year of the ox symbolizes motivated, genuine hard workers. But watch out because the oxen are known to have a quick-temper.
Whether Asian or American, everyone’s culture can enjoy the annual Spring Festival. It is an educational and entertaining experience, oh, and the food isn’t bad either.