ASIA hosts Lunar New Year celebration

Students gather for a festival of culture and community


Eli Leadham

Students and community members gather in the Sutton Center to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Feb. 11.

Eli Leadham, Contributing Writer

The scent of soy sauce, fried dumplings, sesame chicken, spring rolls and shrimp pad thai filled the Sutton Center as the Asian Student Interest Association (A.S.I.A.) hosted its annual Lunar New Year Celebration on Feb. 11.

Each year, A.S.I.A. organizes a Lunar New Year celebration in collaboration with the Korean American Students Association (K.A.S.A.), the World Tea Association (W.T.A.) and the Japanese Studies Club (J.S.C.). The event aims to connect Wake Forest’s Asian American community through a showcase of culture and food.

The Lunar New Year is a celebration of the lunisolar new year. Each year on the lunisolar calendar is represented by an animal –– this year marking the year of the rabbit. This holiday is culturally significant in countries such as China, Vietnam, Korea, the Philippines and Indonesia.  

“For me, the Lunar New Year is time to spend with loved ones to celebrate new beginnings and bring in the new year with good luck,” Vice President of A.S.I.A. Katie Zeng (‘24) said. “Even more so, it’s a reminder of my culture and the history that I grew up with and will continue to learn and be a part of as I grow up.

As attendees filled their plates with food, A.S.I.A.’s executive team introduced themselves and acknowledged the recent spike in anti-Asian violence. 

President of A.S.I.A. Annie Phan (’24) recalled the Asian-American community’s recent loss from the Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay shootings. 

“Three weeks ago, families and friends who were supposed to spend Sunday, Jan. 22 cooking food, going to family gatherings, celebrating just like me and you are, instead grieved the loss of their loved ones and the tragedy that struck their community –– and in turn, our community,” Phan said. “Tonight, we honor our past, present, and our future … we will live to love and carry on the legacies of those who have died while creating our own.”

Tonight, we honor our past, present, and our future … we will live to love and carry on the legacies of those who have died while creating our own.

— A.S.I.A. President Annie Phan

Student performing groups such as Lost in Translation, Momentum Dance, the Chinese Ensemble, the Martial Arts Club and Deacon Dhamaal performed during the celebration. Lost in Translation dancer Wendy Wei (‘25) described the celebration’s welcoming atmosphere.

“Having a Lunar New Year celebration on campus, which is a space where Asian people gather to celebrate our culture, and seeing how welcoming the school and non-Asian students are to that is incredibly touching,” Wei said.

She continued: “At Wake Forest it can feel lonely to see my parents and their friends celebrate while I eat American food without nearly as much Asian company. But having a Lunar New Year Celebration on campus makes you feel like you have a little bubble of people who see, understand and appreciate you and your culture. That’s not an easy feeling to create without some sort of Asian-centered celebration.”

Freshman Lydia Anderson experienced her first Lunar New Year Festival this weekend, noting that celebrating as a campus community deepens students’ understanding of international cultures. 

“The Lunar New Year festival showed the community that we all have different backgrounds, and we should learn more about others and their culture,” Anderson said. More information about A.S.I.A. and its mission can be found on their Instagram page @wfu_asia.